notebooks and the dust of daily life

DSCN1755Last night I was just thinking about how much I enjoy  messing about with pens and a notebook.  Actually, I take that back. I don’t enjoy it lots of the time but have something deep inside that wants and needs to do it.

A while back I tried painting a few canvases but didn’t enjoy the experience much at all.

For me there was too much responsibility contained in that one white rectangle, too much pressure to say something or to fill it with a picture that might look just right on someones wall.

The thought of using paints  made me freeze and frustrated because of the infinite colours to choose from.  The cleaning of brushes annoyed me. Maybe the truth is that I don’t particularly want to paint or feel free when I tried to.

I didn’t like the feeling of responsibility  and mess whereas armed with my Staedtler Triplus Fineliners and notebook there are 30 colours to choose from, I can carry them to a coffee shop and just have to put a pen lid on.
I like the feel of them in my hand and the way they glide over paper, the way they don’t go dry if I loose a lid. They’re mobile, which is important to me. For me art isn’t something in a gallery or displayed  in museum, it is out in about the everyday so its good to have tools to capture the moments if they come. I’d generally rather have a look in any famous artists notes and ideas than his masterpieces.

Note books are intimate  as you have to touch it to read it rather than gaze up, hands off at an expensive painting on a wall. I can close the book over if I see someone being nosey and trying to look over to see what I’m up to. Notebooks suit me.

Thinking about it some more it is similar to my experience of recording music.
When I started off I enjoyed using a very basic 4-track cassette recorder. There was limited choice as there where only so many sounds you could record and layer on top of each other to make a song.

But I then one day I thought:-

‘Imagine what I could do with 16 tracks. So many options, so much freedom, I can make better music!’

So I splashed out on a 16 track Yamaha digital recorder and few condenser microphones to try and make some music.Then eventually the too many options and knobs to twirl and sliders to move, a thick instruction book to read and mic settings  to adjust and pop shield  to make from old tights and changing the reverb, add some chorus to the final mix and I was frustrated with making music.
The good intentions of  ‘much more freedom‘ killed the joy I had for recording music.

Musically it was a bit like trying to take things up from doodling in a sketch book to painting on canvas but I lost my enthusiasm for writing songs in the process and it hasn’t come back.

Speaking of sketching in books and doodling on 4-tracks.Maybe a there is a similar thing going on with blogging?

I know I blog a lot, it started way back before Facebook in the days of Myspace.

I like doing it as it helps me record ideas, track footsteps along the way. I like doing it in the same way as I like sketching in notebook, or messing about on 4-track.
Being a complete jackdaw for lifting  appropriate quotes I can see one from Pablo Picasso that I have never seen before but like:-

‘The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls’

I’m not sure if blogging, scribbling in notebooks, messing with the 4-track etc could be described as art.  I think everyone is an artist in some sense, then there are people who are artists in that they have spent many years training and working on what they do.  All I know about myself is that I feel I understand these quotes deep in my bones. Maybe we all do?

‘The artist is a receptacle for the emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.’
Pablo Picasso

‘A guilty conscience needs to confess. A work of art is a confession.’
Albert Camus

‘Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul’
W. Somerset Maugham

Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos’
Stephen Sondheim

‘Art is the unceasing effort of competing with the beauty of flowers – and never succeeding’ 
Gian Carlo Menotti

‘That’s the motivation of an artist – to seek attention of some kind’
James Taylor


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