Reflecting again on the first few weeks of my course, I am still surprised how many ideas for drawings come from my daily commute. Sometimes it is interesting juxtapositions I notice, odd things I spot and photograph for reference, or ideas that come from my subconscious in, I suppose, a kind of automatism as I complete the 43 minute overground train journey or the 6.2 miles I walk each day up to the station and then on to work.
It feels powerful and confusing, like stepping through the wardrobe in The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe crossed with Frodo putting on The Ring for the first time. The ideas are surprisingly autobiographical combined with unexpected features of my local quasi suburban landscape.
Is it because I am noticing more because I am simply looking more, to train my artists eye? Is it pent up frustration at past ills that have befallen me? Or my anger at what I see happening in the world magnified since Brexit, Trump, 2016 (Prince RIP) and some personal matters too sensitive to share here? Perhaps the biggest question is does it even matter? As long as the creative urge is there and the ideas are coming I should be thankful. But what if they stop? Dry up?
Part of this joy is how something I resent for taking me away from my daughter and husband – my three hour a day commute – is now becoming something I look forward to for being a rich vein of ideas. This BBC article on Crafty Commuters shows I’m not the only one putting the journey to good use and I enjoyed reading what the other commuters get up to.
Last weekend I felt exhausted. A week of late nights as I finalised blog posts, organised my portfolio, finished reading a particular book on contemporary drawing and sent off assignment one. I took a complete break from studying and drawing and decided to conduct an experiment this week – would I still have ideas with no sketchbook on me and if I took a few days off reading course text books.
So far so good. I dozed yesterday morning on the train and as I woke up a combination of two ideas came to me which I scribbled in the cover of a book in my bag. Walking home another idea for a different drawing this time as a finished picture instead of the words, concepts and feelings that normally signal a new idea. Then today another absurd item left on the pavement which I photographed as part of an ongoing experimental project which may lead to another drawing. I’ll keep this up a few days longer to see what happens.