Susan Garrington


(posted on 27 Jan 2019)

A New Year has brought with it a temporary change of focus and a necessary hiatus from both art making and participation in this Year's London Artists' Studio Tour. I am still able to take some time now and then to work in my sketchbook, but studio time has been almost non existent since Christmas. Hopefully new routines will form and allow me some limited time in the studio soon. Nevertheless, it is a happy time with a decidedly energetic feel. I am hopeful that when I return to my studio some of that energy will join me!

In the meantime I have been thinking about painting and doing some reading. Say what you will about modern technology and its sometimes negative effect on our lives, I have found it to be such an amazing source of inspiration and information. Among other things, it has allowed me to find several authors I may not have read otherwise. Among these is Robert Macfarlane. His book, The Lost Words , a response to the decision by Oxford Press to illiminate many Nature related words from their children's dictionary and replace them with words from the world of technology, has received much coverage through social media and the response to his book has been overwhelming. ( The irony here is not lost on me! ) Reading about this on social media led me to search out his other writing and I have been enjoying, both The Old Ways, and Landmarks, very much, partly because so much of what he thinks and says and quotes others saying about landscape applies to painting too. Macfarlane writes, "....the two questions we should ask of any strong landscape are these: Firstly, what do I know when I am in this place that I can know nowhere else? And then, vainly, what does this place know of me that I cannot know of myself?"

What do I know when I am in this place that I can know nowhere else?

I've copied the first question on the flyleaf of my current sketchbook. It will become my mantra I think. The response to  the second part of the question may become clearer, perhaps, when looking at my finished sketch or painting. Time will tell...What does this place know of me? 

Macfarlane writes, " There are experiences of landscape that will always resist articulation...or to which silence is the best response". I would add that sometimes, in that silent response, a painting is conceived.

My hope for you all is that you find places that hold truth you can know and that, in turn, the places you find both know and love you.

So, I will miss seeing many of you during the studio tour this year. Maybe we will see each other at other events throughout 2019. I will keep sending out my newsletters with updates about my work and any shows or exhibitions of interest to me and perhaps to you too.

As always, Thank you for your interest and support. Do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of help to you.