• Helen Lopez

the surface

In my light sleep awareness skims the surface of a painting stoping at a spot I am not sure about - does this work ? do I need to change this place of uncertainty? or is this just somewhere that catches and snags attention. As soon as I have had a mouthful of coffee I go look and see what has been on my mind through the night. That and email I wrote yesterday as an introduction for a grant to the Arts Council of Wales.

I don't sleep well and anything I get involved in adds to that, my brain wont switch off it just keeps going round and round catching on snags and bumps, I get up tired at the start of the day.

It is my habit to read in bed for a time with a cup of tea before getting up, this is luxurious and really wonderful after years of not having this I know the value. I read at this time less I forget in the business of the day. Right now I am reading 'Nothing if not Critical' by Robert Hughes which is a collection of critical essays he wrote on viewing major exhibitions at major galleries and art museums worldwide for publications of the day like Time magazine. I mention this only to say I read all this that has been written by this man and it is interesting in the moment and then it is gone I have absolutely no recall of what I have read 10 minutes later. I try and fix it in my memory by looking up images of those artists I have read about in this book and not heard of. The images are often familiar I just hadn't attached a name before and this is irrelevant as I will forget before breakfast. This is not about art history this is about memory.

It is somehow comforting that my brain wont let go of what is immediately in its shopfront but is not interested in what it is not interested in.

There is joyous freedom in knowing not a soul is reading this.

these are warm up books - I splurge in these first thing sometimes to get the juices flowing when it is time for painting and my attention needs to catch up and arrive.

What I want to say is not coming it is about this memory surface and the surface of the painting and how I often don't know what I know until it is called upon to be present. What can be seen and what cant - is this too much? too ugly? too loud? too obvious? all the fears play in the foreground when a huge sweeping paint brush dispatches them to the floor.

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