Meditation or Migraine Part 2

Meditation or Migraine Part 2

Sara Freeman

'It’s both! Meditation when things are flowing in the studio, and a struggle when it’s not. I usually have a few big wobbles in the weeks leading up to exhibition. Waking in the middle of the night in panic at the imminent disaster of an exhibition of failed paintings.'

In Part 2 of Meditation or Migraine, we hear from one half of our current exhibiting duo Sara Freeman & Peter Jordan. These two approach their work in entirely different ways. Peter's responses to follow!

S&HG // When you’re making, what are you thinking about? Is it all technical or are you able to let your mind wander?

It depends which part of the process I am in. When I’m splashing on layers of paint and washing them back, building up the ground and the colour intensity I’m looking for, I think I’m pretty present with the materials, thinking about how they work, how they might be pushed, tweaked, persuaded.

When I finally get to the point of carving in the line-work, I first have to decide which way to start – and this sets up the whole picture from the first line. Then it’s like jumping into a pool, there’s no turning back and I’m in a kind of surrender mode. I love that. No more thinking. It’s like a holiday, sitting there quietly drawing the lines. I might listen to podcasts, RN, birds, or music, but the path is set. And yet the outcome is subtle and unpredictable and you have to wait until the last line is drawn before you can see the effect it might have.

S&HG // Have you ever had makers block? How do you overcome it?

I have. In the two years leading up to this show, I was struggling with why I would make work and for what purpose in these precarious times. The drive to create was just gone, and I didn’t know if it would ever return. That’s a scary feeling to come to terms with. In the past 20 years I’ve not let myself stop for any length of time so as not to lose the momentum, but this time it just left me.

At the same time, I had committed to building myself a proper studio, with good light and high ceilings, surrounded by a garden. I think it was the lure of that beautiful space, so joyful to be in, that got me making again. That, plus gardening whenever I feel stuck or worried a painting is not working out. Just doing something physical and simple in the garden, fixes a lot of things.

Where I live now in the Bega Valley, we have a big garden that can absorb a lot of nervous energy, and grounds me in the simple present. I feel very lucky to inhabit a peaceful life like this, when much of the world seems to be in turmoil.

Overall, is your art practice meditation or migraine?

It’s both! Meditation when things are flowing in the studio, and a struggle when it’s not. I usually have a few big wobbles in the weeks leading up to exhibition. Waking in the middle of the night in panic at the imminent disaster of an exhibition of failed paintings.

Going from the very private process of making the work where it’s just you and your inner eye and the materials taking shape before you, to the exposure of exhibiting and promoting the work is hard. It’s a relief when you see someone genuinely touched by a painting you’ve made. That makes the showing worthwhile.

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