The trees are in leaf, finally. I learnt the Icelandic word for finally, finally (loksins). It never gets dark and I have the beginnings of a tan.
I am very aware that I haven’t written in a while, that my Foodie Friday habit has fallen by the wayside: this post is an update, offering and explanation.
As Iceland wakes up from winter I am awakening from my own darkness too, slowly, slowly not quite surely. There is a quickening to spring, an acceleration where the buds whose progress you followed religiously suddenly burst with pollen, and the lawn is a lush field after months of jaundice. I have found in myself a rising urge to draw and paint, in colour, starting on a blank page without knowing it’s end, feeling the liberation like a welcome breeze on my face (Iceland is not short of welcome breezes, and absolutely brimming with unwelcome ones). So I have not made any illustrations for this blog, instead trying little steps into the unknown, feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing, which is an exciting feeling. Though I like drawing the illustrations for Foodie Friday here I haven’t found the motivation to sit and draw a picture I can already see in my head, as is the case with most of the black and white ink drawings I’ve made for this blog.
So although this blog is a quiet space, in daily life it feels like everything is humming and blooming and flowering. While I am becoming, I know less how to write about it – in the process of forming and changing what can I say from the eye of the storm? Better perhaps from a distance, later. That’d what I tell myself when I skip writing the blog in order to see what happens if I put pink next to green.
I have a distinct memory of being at primary school, in an afternoon given over to art. Sitting at a table, totally and utterly engrossed in the colour purple, Berol chunky felt tip in hand, moving it cross the page just to see the velvety liquid purple spread, not to make a picture.
And later at secondary school, being scolded for wasting paint and time as I stared hypnotised into a glass, loading a brush with colour and dipping it in to see the reds unfurl in the water.
This feeling occurred less and less as I grew up, ‘studied’ and attempted a career of sorts in art. I don’t know that those things caused the loss of it, I don’t think they always do. But now, I find the feeling again when I sit to paint. I’m painting probably quite terrible pictures. I don’t know. For the first time I realise I don’t care. That it doesn’t matter. I am putting them here anyway, I am thinking that it’s good for me to loosen my grip on perfectionism, so sharing these raw, no-thought pieces is important, not because of how they look but for the shift in process.
There is an Icelandic cartoonist called Hugleikur Dagsson who recently formed a boy band called Never 2 L8. There’s a really quite lovely music video you can find. His reason was that he always wanted to be in a boy band and decided it was never too late. The band consists largely of bearded, middle aged men. This is the sentiment I am championing now, as I decide to paint in colour when I don’t know how. And in all areas of life too, things are flowering where I thought there would only be space.
I bought a baritone ukulele. I’m learning to play it. I want to learn to sing. I am writing songs. I am doing yoga three times a week and thinking of training as a teacher some day. I went to dance class last week and want to do more.
The idea I had of myself is shifting and the things I thought were ‘not me’ turn out to be only blocked by barriers of the mind.
This post is like one long apology for absence, and my excuse is that I am a work in progress and I haven’t worked out how to share that without breaking a fragile spirit of trying. But I think it will be good to try. This is the first attempt.