After my show in April, I decided to take a breather and regroup. Unfortunately, I took too long and found myself not having started anything for months, other than go on a walking holiday in Scotland, tidy up my web site and make submissions for awards and public exhibitions ( both the last two are pointless displacement activities that negatively affect self-confidence.) Then, without trying or even noticing, I realised that I was in the middle of at least five different projects; A series of paintings, a series of found object assemblies, a study into modern day autocrats( now completed and published on ISSUU and shortly available as giclee prints), photographs of the space between things and, finally, trying to unlearn the sketching techniques of my architectural career to find an approach that is more emotionally charged. This was all in addition to advising on a slow-moving public space project in California and developing an idea that I have for the bear pit in Bristol.
In the midst of all this I suddenly found myself oscillating between periods of activity, periods of refection and periods where I actually wanted to do anything other than work. I have always found that displacement activity, where anything becomes more interesting than actually working, has a benefit to the work being displaced. Somehow the act of not thinking about work allows one’s subconscious to take over and new connections, new areas for work can be realised.
The Yorkshire pudding recipe that I used then and modified with the advice of friends ended up being unpredictable, (eggy with soggy bottoms and more like pancakes) so having spent ages reading recipes and watching celebrity chefs making them on YouTube I tried and adjusted a number of recipes and finally have one that works, is easy and seems to render results every time:
Yorkshire puddings: Makes 12.
Preheat oven to 240 C + then add a teaspoon of fat/oil to the moulds (vegetable or lard but not olive). Place in oven until smoking hot: use a hob if the oil is not smoking.
Mix the ingredients listed below with a fork to make a batter. Do not beat or whisk even if there are lumps, just leave to rest for a few minutes
100g plain flour
Then, add to moulds equally (a small ladle or 35 g each) and bake at 200 C (without opening oven) for 20-22 minutes or untill they look a deep golden brown.
Do not be tempted to overfill or top up after the first pour.
So having sucessfully achieved this small but delicious thing my confidence is restored and I am now off to finish the next stage of one of my paintings which requires long periods of time waiting for paint to dry. Is there a transferable skill from making yorkshire puddings to painting? No, but I am thankful to them that I now paint with enthusiasm.