During Lockdown, a stack of roofing-timber offcuts, discarded in my garden, became the key to creative play.
It all started as something different to do as a birthday treat while ‘locked in’. During ‘Lock down’, in the absence of opportunities for physical travel, recollections of places visited and imagined were finding a way into my painting themes.
So why not build a solid ziggurattish thing.
I was fortunate to have a sizeable garden. My lawn became the arena for months of play as the zigguratttish thing became a fortress, Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, a Balinese Gateway, a citadel, a temple, which would send out tendrils connecting to lesser | templets’, communities and strategic outposts.
I did not alter the initial shapes, my invention came in the way they were periodically arranged and dispersed among fresh pastures. Every ten days or so the theme would change to allow the lawn to revive. A tree of life-giving way to peninsulas, railway sidings, canals and, eventually, with the arrival of winter, bamboo stick supports lifting the planks clear of the grass to create boardwalks.
I learned to tell the time by the cast shadows.
Seasonal changes enhanced the surfaces, as did falling leaves, rain, frost and snow.
Beans, lettuces (and slugs) leant their support from the prime grandstand position of a neighbouring vegetable patch. Sporadic repairs were sometimes needed after nightly interference by animals or wind. Only gravity held the parts together. There were sunny days when I would lie down on the grass to be on the same level as the blocks, to feel their monumentality. Just as I did as a child arranging my toy bricks among the rectilinear oriental patterns of our living room carpet. Everything connects. Subsequently, new shapes have been introduced into my paintings as a result of my garden Lockdown diversion.
To the casual onlooker my morning exercises, standing amongst my constructions, might have seemed like a meditative ritual. Perhaps it was. Perhaps that is what painting is.
The starting platform is now the only evidence that remains. The grass is upright.
The wood offcuts are again a discarded heap, secretly waiting for..!! Whoknows Wat!
For more of my Constructions series, explore Gallery 12: Constructions in the main menu or go here