Thinking is not easy, I’ve been thinking. But on my own, the thought stops there. If I search out a book about thinking, trawl the internet for relevant articles, then it might get further. But what really gets me thinking is talking about it with other people.
There have been many gains from moving house and area, but there are things I have lost that I am still trying to find again in this new setting. I miss the conversations about ideas, thinking aloud with other people that were a part of my psychotherapy world. Talking with an old friend and psychoanalytic psychotherapist who came to visit, I realised just how much I enjoyed that process of shared exploration; how we nudged each other into new pathways and expanded what it was that could be thought. And my experiences of thinking in groups were even more challenging and productive, and I remember the buzzing, fizzing energy that seemed to fill my head afterwards.
Next day I went to visit some of the nearby Open Studios nearby with some ‘new friends’, and suddenly the fizz came back! Here was the visual equivalent of thinking together in a group. We were sharing the experience of encountering some stimulating (thought provoking) art, and the interplay of our individual responses expanded what could be felt and seen. Part of the magic is that mixture of common ground – shared cultural references, for example, and unique appreciations that come from our distinct experiences and inner landscapes. The other factor, of course, was the art and the artist – the stimulus that initiated the process, itself the product of a complex interbreeding of cultural backgrounds, individual experience and imagination. Clare Bassett, step forward!
So as always I come back to the group. As for sketching, it goes without saying that drawing in a group has all that fizzing quality too, sharing views, vision, techniques and kit. On that note, I’m off to join up with the Bristol urban sketchers for the first time, in Bath. More to follow … meanwhile some sketches below from another sort of group – a twitter hashtag, drawing together many and varied sketchers each month, and at the top of the page, my first ever screen print done with at group at the Gloucestershire Printmaking Co-operative.