My initial return to the studio was challenging. My process and methods developed as the rules to my processes became a habit or creative ritual. It was as much about defining myself. What kind of artist I was as to the work I wanted to make?
The choice of materials evolved through this journey. I wanted to maintain integrity in my work. I learned the recipes for gesso (this was not taught on a sculpture degree) and found the physical, tactile, step-by-step method reassuring – it was a nod to my “maker” roots as I could truly construct my works. Continued research into the history of mark-making pointed to an honesty that I chose to draw with. The pigments became purer: Indian or Chinese ink (that I often grind myself), graphite, charcoal dust; mixed with a binder, water, oil, egg or rice paste; I was as much in control of the provenance of the materials as I could be.
My creative enquiry paralleled that of a colour scientist’s: I pursued a pigment with the smallest possible particle size as it was not enough for my marks to sit on the surface of the ground; they had to be within it and bond with it
The ‘enso’, zen circle motif recurred in my sketchbooks for years. The pursuit of a perfect circle in a single brush stroke is a meditative practice within my studio. I first make the mark with a dry brush. I perform the gesture repeatedly to create muscle memory for this specific body movement. After rehearsing with a wet brush on newspaper, I commit to using ink on cartridge only once I am happy to both make the mark in the pursuit of ‘perfection’ whilst accepting it as it appears. Blots, drips and idiosyncrasies.
The final mark on rice paper or gesso is a unique moment of action. A record of a pause in judgement. A solitary open form and a complete whole at the same time.