This sketchbook – the fifth one in the series – has less “human interest” in it than the others, and more “art school” experiments. By the second term, in early 1969, I was disillusioned with first-year graphics – no enthusiasm for promoting soap powders – and messed about in the fine art department, life-drawing, making studies for would-be paintings, and trying to fit in somewhere … teetering on the edge of Failure.
Perhaps all these sketches were intended as paintings. They never developed further, because it was on to the next, the sketch having discharged the feeling and the journey. I remember an intense excitement with colours: the sexy human tones. They saturated my inner life. They filled me when making love, and on my lorry journeys to and from London. Oil pastel was a crude but flexible medium for my hunger with life.
I wonder at this point, whether there was any creative guidance available. In the 1960s, the teaching trend was minimal. Self expression ruled the day, regardless of technique or understanding of media. We were encouraged to drool – so long as we were doing something – a wastage in canvas and paints.
I am uninterested in the mainstream art market, so I don’t know what the trends are, these days, or how the pendulum swings. I might have felt more stable with old fashioned teaching methods: to draw, draw and draw yet more, the way a musician practices: to refine my observation and sense of volume; to train as Picasso did each day, by drawing curves. I escaped into the life drawing class, where I was free again to “do what I like”.
A training in the arts, is apprenticeship. What is it like, to have a mentor who sees the potential? And at age nineteen, twenty, would I have been able to appreciate it? – leaving home, hitching the road, rebellious and frustrated? If I am lucky – like some students were – I am blessed with a concentrated passion which finds its creative objective and gets stuck in there. Its ciphers poured into my sketchbooks and journals, and here is their airing.
My weekends were spent on the road to London: a firm of carriers picked me up at Spofforth Road in Liverpool and set me down at Chalk Farm in the early hours of the morning: then brought me back on Sunday night.
I had an artist’s romance with the motorway and its phallic arrows which took me through the night to my beloved – I couldn’t wait. The lorries ate the road at a slow and steady 50mph through the Midlands. The drivers were charming, and I knew some of them well. They occasionally made a gentlemanly pass, in the cab, but gave up at the single minded innocence of this green twenty-year-old …
hitch hiker, manchester to liverpool 1969
Some life drawings, when at Liverpool. The first five are mixed media and brush work. 6-10 were done perhaps a year or two later, at Camden Arts Centre. I enjoy this medium so much, and digging these out, that I’m amazed I don’t do any now … !
My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.
This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.
All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/