So now I have discovered the trail, (read blog below) the concept of tracing the dots backwards – where did this thing with plants come from? Then I remember the very first drawing that gave me that “buzz”. I am sure I have it somewhere but until I find it I thought it might be good to draw it from memory. The fact that I can remember it, 30 years later, tells me its important. I won a prize for this drawing, it has the award marked on the back. Why did I draw a plant, why did I win a prize? I lived with my granny for many years, an avid amateur painter in oils. what did she draw, what was her obsession, the thing that she painted again and again in order to get it right, although I am not sure she was ever satisfied – she painted blue bell woods. One of the most highly prized possessions in my family is one of Granny’s Blue Bell Wood paintings. So I drew a blue bell, won a prize and from that moment on the dots just kept on building until now when I can finally see – all along – it is about a small child “learning that a good drawing was the highest of goals and that plants were the thing you draw to get there”. The last dot.
So I am teaching drawing in a school and the topic is animals. I feel you cant do a project on animals unless you have “tiger in a tropical storm” by Henry Rousseau. To me it is kind of unthinkable that any other artist could say more to children about animals – in the most exciting place an animal could be – the jungle. Then after teaching the lesson I search out the only photo I have left of the mural I painted across the whole wall of my bedroom when I was 13 – thats a big big painting for a smallish child to paint. It had a tiger, elephant and jaguar – it also had plants lots of them. Funny to look back and see that really its not the norm to paint all over your bedroom wall and what you choose to paint maybe tells you something and for me at that age I drew jungles and plants. I still am – I sit in the glass houses at Kew to draw a flower, after making a flower in silver for 10 years, like Rousseau said “When I go into the glass houses and I see the strange plants of exotic lands, it seems to me that I enter into a dream.” I painted jungle plants from a post cards on to my bedroom wall after seeing the painting at the National Gallery, I traveled to Africa and sketched jungles and then I find myself in a green house drawing plants again. So the flower brooch was coming from somewhere and it was telling me some thing. At the start of this journey I said “ So I will make and when I have time I will draw, this will lead me to new work. I will trust the process”. It just took time and learning to draw again and I had to do what Steven Jobs talked about in his Stanford Speech Joining the Dots……I had to join the dots – back wards.