14 - 21 Feb 2019
My time at Angelot was brief. One week. The aim to continue to recover emotionally, psychologically and physically from a period that had seen me at my lowest ebb as a man and an artist.
What could one week do you ask?
For me, a person who has only once flown alone, and is not a frequent traveller beyond family holidays and who has only one previous residency experience (Trelex). One week contains an overwhelming number of small experiences that create a very special kind of change.
So the benefits of the generosity of Pascale have started to play out long before even arriving at this beautiful little house. The gentle challenge of flying alone, navigating by train to Trelex and the prospect of meeting new people (something I think is no big deal for many) has the effect of reminding me that I am capable and my world is bigger than my home, studio, region, country. Just being away without my wife organising the boarding passes and passport etc reminds me that I am a person of my own. Frankly even booking the flights gave me a rush of hope.
I had decided that I would not make work while in Angelot. My aims were reading, writing, looking, thinking. I did some of all of that of course but what I did most was just be. To be me for one week in this new place was a huge gift. The chance to get to know the me of now. As an artist and a man.
So what was achieved. I gained a clarity about the next phase of my idea to become a mentor/coach/support for artists and creatives. A clarity that had eluded me in the fear and anxiety of home.
Equally my inability to bring fresh mind to a collaborative project that I am working on eased and while sitting in the sunshine and breezing along on the Electric bike I found a new dialogue emerged. Hearing myself speak a little and terrible French even seemed to break the spell of repetition of thoughts and allowed myself to see potential for something new.
I drew, small thumbnails of compositions of the surrounding landscape in anticipation of making paintings back in my studio for my “misremembered landscape” series.
I took in the air and the colour and the birds. Most of all the birds. Nature marked out my week for me.
Black Caps and blue tits in the tree outside the house. Sparrows and Robins bustling in the hedgerow just outside the French doors. The field fares, thrushes and starlings chattering in the field. The Honey Buzzard patrolling the perimeter. The young Jay in a tree above a bench and water trough. The Great Igret in the field that I caught a brief glimpse of from the car. The Heron catching a mouse in a field just outside Gingins. The Woodpeckers drilling and laughing all around and the hawk that landed in a verge next to the bike only to miss its quarry. Ghandi and the escaped mouse and the sound of horses on the lanes. And the Deer oh man the deer!