Day 8 - Thursday 12 April 2012

7.44am - A couple of things before starting the day, firstly, my dream last night was great. We were evacuating, with great excitement, from an enemy attack on a long stretch of an end-of-day darkly lit coastline somewhere, and in the midst of it Nancy Mauro-Flude got married to Matt Ward. It was a half spoken and half silent wedding. Some of the words didnít need to be spoken because we all knew the deep love being shown. But also some of the words spoken were very abstract. It was a beautiful balance between words, sound, ritual, and using our senses. It was very beautiful. Then at the conclusion of the wedding, three photo albums came out (one of a young Nancy, one of a young Matt and one of them together) and were shown them, but also each person was handed two B&W images with a system of coded language on the back. We were to decipher the image by using the albums to find the narrative. Again a beautiful moment, everyone in the dream was very excited.

Second, I woke this morning to bright orange sunshine pouring through my window, followed by the drone of 20 or so fly waking with it. After getting out of my sleeping bag I remembered a time when I was a small child and my parents went away to England for a long holiday. When they did this they would offload all of my brothers and I to either friends or relatives whilst they were away. On one particular trip, that must have been when I was quite young, I remember absolutely hated them for them being away. For some reason thoughts of this uncomfortable period came to mind, and then the thoughts of having to get on and deal with it as I knew that I couldnít do anything about getting them back until they returned came to mind. I hated how they used to go and leave us. What a strange way to wake this morning.

8.49pm Ė Itís nearing the end of another big day. After the breakfast ritual had finished I was off to Q1 for more guttering and fascia work. I mostly helped Chris with cutting up then installing gutters. He was chatty today and in a good mood asking me many questions about myself, what I think of FoTI and what they have achieved. He sounded a little to me like someone who is getting a little sick of it, or of which itís starting to wear a little thin. Heís an old fashioned soul, a love of museums, old power stations, old things that go, and old things that once were, like old towns, old islands and old light stations. This is the second time on this trip that he has asked me why are we doing this? What reason are we doing this for, and what next. I asked if FoTI had a strategic plan. He said they wanted to get the key members together to do this but that it always keeps getting postponed. It sounded to me that they need Annette to sort them out, particularly in the case of what roles they all do. Anyway, it was chirpy conversation and enjoyable. The morning tea ritual was changed due to the good weather and that most of us were working down at Q1. It came to us and was a pleasant change from eating in Q3 and was concluded by the taking of a group photograph by Erika.

During the early period of the day I thought about many things. During one particular moment I thought about Cezanneís landscapes of Mont Sainte-Victoire that he painted over the over. I thought about his particular style of doing this, whereby he blended cubist structures into his sky with land. I thought about drawing air as the strongest, boldest element of a landscape and drawing the land sections lightly. I thought of having three areas of a landscape overlapping or merging into each other with the air being the strongest most solid area (like Virtue), or the merging of air, sea and land (grass, rocks and cliffs) in that order of definition or solidity. One of the elements that I perhaps could try in the first instance is to merge these using the weather, and exploring how fog, mist, rain and/or clouds can change a landscape. I kept on recalling the sentiments spoken by those of my colleagues on the island that that each day it becomes a different place, or a different world. The weather is so striking here that I really have to incorporate it into my drawing with these ideas in mind, including experimenting with fading bits of imagery in and out of the composition.

Perhaps one way I could do this is create a composition whereby there are elements missing because of the fog, then I could draw in layers of rock, sky and sea using different images projected onto the paper, drawing in some places where they overlap and leaving other areas as only one layer. Perhaps the sky layer could be drawn as the dominant final projected layer to create this effect? There really are so many layers here, layers of place, layers of physical elements, layers of history and memories, layers of rock bared out for all to see, and layers of time. My drawings should reflect this and be densely layered. Another possibility is like Gosia, using layer upon layer of texture, image, and sky but using the projector to overlay?

I also thought about the island peaks and troughs, its little hills and valleys, the dips in the pathways and various places we walk over. The island is like one of those orange road cones, made out of butter but has been sliced three-quarters of the way down by a four-year old with a blunt serrated butter knife, creating beautiful undulations rather than a flat smooth even surface. I also thought of the regeneration thatís occurring. The trees are definitely getting bigger on what was once a nearly totally denuded landscape.

Lunch was at 1.30, followed by a quick look at the damaged weather station, then most of us were off on a walk starting at the top of the Zigzag track on the north western side of the island. Chris, Sue and I deviated, and turned south taking the hazardous climb into the lost world, over steep, hair-raising terrain, but it was well worth it. I think I took over 500 photographs of all things, up down and all around. Plenty of fodder to draw from amongst it I hope. During the walk/climb I was thinking mostly of my last few drawings, as well as textures on the rock, and the space where textures meet within a composition. There was so much drama, massive square rocks on their sides, gapping crevices at every vantage point, rock hopping to find the next way through. It was hard work and Iím sure Iíll feel it in my thighs and feet tomorrow, but utterly worth every second of every moment. There was huge massive scale set against tiny intimacy. There was brightness and darkness, and there was everything in between.

In a funny sense, all problems seem to disappear when youíre on this island. The imprisonment shuts out everything else. The only problems are tiredness, washing up, keeping yourself safe, getting up and working and walking throughout the day. Once that helicopter disappears you are trapped here until it returns, therefore everything else disappears with it. Itís thoroughly refreshing. Itís such a good headspace to be in. Having to deal with the personalities, the minor frustrations, the highs of walking, looking and being amongst astonishing scenery and the lows of monotonous work. This place is so astonishingly beautiful, from the vast sweeping views out to the sea, to the dramatic cliffs that drop off the island and loom from Cape Pillar and Cape Raoul, to the tiny lichens, grasses, spiders, skinks, scrubs and bushes, the ever present lighthouse, the majestic red/orange brick Q1 nestled in the valley midway into the island to Q2 and Q3 standing at higher more open positions to the elements up near the light, to the piles of rubble located all over the island, and the cut pathways, the list goes on and on.