Here it comes again.
Over and over, all is thrown up, stark against the Sky.
On landing, reassembled in a new and curious shape.
Spread out thin across the constant, living, Ground.
Before I get a chance to catch my breath
It comes again.
These seismic shifts create a chaos and confusion that can only be allowed for,
Such is its Might and Power.
There is no rider. No helmsman. No pilot. No driver.
All sense of knowing as fragile as the new leaves that burst out all around.
Only fierce Love to hold on to in turbulent Times like these.
Kat Robertson. April 2021.
(video created by scattering mustard seed on the skin of a drum and banging it. Audio only what resulted when the video was slowed down.)
This is my world.
My whole horizon.
It is Beautiful.
And it is all that I need.
I am its only Guardian.
And this tiny world needs me.
I Care for it.
I have some agency here.
And only here.
Any illusion of becoming real in a virtual world is now dissolving like a bad dream.
A nightmare of 4 years.
I have found a place.
Out of the wind and rain.
In the shelter of rock and tree roots.
On a bed of dry leaves and under canopy.
The moss drips at the entrance to this shelter.
Only here do I feel safe.
Watching the whirling world.
While embedded in this spot.
More in common with this tree, this soil and this rock,
than with all those glittering projections.
Melt into the landscape.
Blend in, become invisible.
Just another tiny particle.
If that makes me inhuman,
Then humanity itself now alienates me.
I perceive, as alien, this planet from Deep Space,
With alien senses, hear the ‘hum’ of Earth,
And whispered stories
Of stars and distant universes and of our, as yet unexplored, potential.
I feel Earth’s cold and lonely passage,
I see how very precious She is.
Now I must take such care about which culture I take root in.
I choose a culture that is not ‘on screen’ and more akin to fungal networks.
The Machine now builds a ‘cage’ around the Earth and I find have become mistrusting even of our Father Sky.
Even the Air I breathe, the space around me, now polluted with our, focused, radiation.
This Fire in our oxygen is dry. So very dry. I become wizened.
If I am to be caged, then I choose this place.
For I find myself in good company among the lichens and branches.
Better to tune to their frequency and breathe their fresher, moister, air.
If this is an illness then please feel free to diagnose me.
But I will not be taking any medications, for they are only added layers of complexity and over-looked side effects.
If ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ why do we keep inventing layers we do not need?
Using more fuel to fuel our already fuel-driven lives.
Crudely drenched in the stuff.
Sometimes I see the whole world on Fire.
Sometimes I need to swim, to wash those charred layers off, to re-hydrate.
Where I go swimming I imagine rainbows are left swirling on the surface behind me.
It only takes a drop.
I do not need much.
I have found a place.
Out of the wind.
In the shelter of rock and tree roots.
Dry leaves and under canopy.
From here I can watch the whirling world.
And ride out this wild weather.
Kat Robertson February 2021
I made this gif (below) of my tiny world’s horizons, in an accelerated spin, after doing some research into NFTs. (Non-Fungible tokens).
This would make quite a good one.
I was almost persuaded by the hype, for I have much unmarketable, digital artwork, shared here, on this blog.
But, on looking into it all more deeply, when tapped, it all just has that same, hollow, ring.
I will surely become poorer for little reward and I do not like to gamble.
I work and someone else becomes richer. Same old, same old.
Painted as an ‘evolution’ I see it as another desperate grab in a dying world. Another chunk torn out of reality.
I find I am a bit charmed by the idea of it though.
All artists live in a kind of unsolvable riddle, a koan of existence.
The virtual nature of this proposition is attractive, but if I find real relief in stepping away from the screen what would possess me now to put my real money, and learning time, into a virtual, screen-based, economy!!??
It simply makes no common sense.
My digital artwork remains for sale, in high resolution, through my mandala shop, for £3.50 or so. Why would any fool be persuaded it was worth £1000’s, even if it did prove virtually marketable??
I am also, now, thanks to this ‘advance’, even more fearful of art thieves.
Today yet another marketing entrepreneur has chosen to follow this blog. I may have mentioned this before, but most of my ‘followers’ are media types (and psychiatrists!) who never comment and rarely like. No like minded community being built here. Not all, but so many ‘licking to be licked’, standing on other’s shoulders to see better, with no regard for their well being.
I saw one of these new nfts ridiculing ladies of my age/demographic, depicted riding a social media ‘rocket’, waving her lipstick and handbag.
This seems to be the general tone.
“Let’s dis the Gen X mothers, just as we make ourselves all disposable”.
As may be obvious from this post I am struggling now. I am not OK.
I was worried that I had no Love left in me, until I remembered that Grief is an expression of Love and now I find that Gratitude, for what remains and Grief, for all that is lost, are, prehaps, the only appropriate expressions. I cannot stop being an artist, but if any future, alternative, occupations become necessary I have been considering training as a death doula …… at least I would be useful……
This is my favorite mandala of 2021 so far…..
It speaks to me of Stasis.
Of this Lockdown.
The Land is all frozen hard and still.
We are all like bubbles trapped in ice.
I have water containers all over our patch. This small bucket was floating, inside another bucket, full of rain water.
I pulled it out and found this heavy piece of ice attached, hanging on, improbably.
I left it on the table outside.
It took an entire week for the ice to fall off. It has been so cold recently. Staying in minus all day too.
I heard it fall from inside the house with the thaw.
The picture of the bubbles, inside the ‘inner bucket’, is the photograph I used to make the mandala.
And I loved this little character that appeared during making this!
My favorite seasonal celebration.
But this year my two sons were not interested and social media conveyed that guising in the village was going to be pretty low key, due to COVID.
The weather was stormy, so I did not drive into town to get a large swede.
(I refuse to buy pumpkins anymore. So sick of ‘America’s treat or treat’.)
So no carving or soup either.
Really missed the gorgeous smell of candle-roasting ‘tumchie’ lantern.
Stayed up late with candles, watching to see if the blue moon would show it’s face. It did not.
And ‘talked with the dead’, but it was not like other years at all.
Missing all the ususal costume dramas, I decided it was time to work with the old faux-fur coat I had had stored in my studio for, at least, the last 3 years.
An old coat that I have always just known was to become ‘Bear’ in my, incrementaly evolving, ‘dream’, puppet show.
It was the coat that inspired the character.
It felt good to work with Bear. So familiar to me. Bear medicine.
Hibernation now never far from my mind.
Quite a journey in patience and understanding too!
I would begin folding and stitching, then see, over and over, that, to make it better, I had to unpick it all.
It felt ‘complete’ a total of 3 times, but then it would stare at me and show me better ways to approach it.
Which always meant taking it apart and starting again.
I like the way this has roughened this faux-fur coat.
It’s evolution took a couple of weeks.
It was not just the way it looked that was important, but also the way it worked, as a prop.
It was frustrating me that what was to have been a quick, fun, project began to eat into days.
It simply was not working as I had imagined.
It was very difficult, and clumsy, to wear.
Then, on November 2nd, I woke from a dream about how to approach it from a completely different angle.
Making the arms the snout, not using the neck, and I unpicked it all for the last time.
Everything fell into place.
Complete with naturally forming eye-holes, in the right place, so I could wear it and actually see where I was going!!
Which had been a real problem until that point!
Now it is a joy to make the simple folds and have/be ‘Bear’, then undo them and have ‘coat’.
Definitley going to be part of my show……think more items will be tied onto it over Time….
Mama Bear prowls in the kitchen…..
In the show it will only be the head that shows (in quite a few different ways), but it works as a fun costume too.
Amazing to wear when meditating! A Bear Woman!
Old cat not bothered.
Below is a wee gif I made for the fun of it all….
51 years old.
Think this might be a mid-Life crisis, or even the effects of lockdown weariness….but I highly recommend it.
(Looking at all the above, I think it needs some whittled, willow, teeth….and perhaps I will paint the eye ‘buttons’…..I would like for this ‘teddy bear’ to become a bit more fierce!)
in Memoriam of the mature Eucalyptus that leaned out over the road from the gardens of Craigdhu farmhouse
planted? – 2020
succumbed to the sudden south-westerly gales during May’s lockdown of 2020
To the tree, The tree that marked the exciting promise of youthful shenanigans. The tree that called me back to a place, That then welcomed me with open arms Each time I turned off the main trunk road along this smaller branching way. The tree that leaned ever further over all who entered here As if trying to vet them as they passed. The tree whose ancestors came from the other side of the world. Whose presence reminded some, who have settled here, of Home. The tree that succumbed, eventually, to Wind and Time, The tree that will forever be growing still, alive and well, In so many of our memories. Kat Robertson June 2020
Sadly, these are the best of the photographs I can find of this local tree legend, when it was alive and towering over village B-road.
It was such an iconic landmark for all who lived here.
It felt like a physical blow to see it lying here.
I stopped the car and spent some Time with it.
I ‘asked’ for some bark and a piece of wood that I thought I might try and make a didgeridoo with it….but having researched how to do it I am not sure my skills are up to that! No termites here to have naturally hollowed it out!
The bark looks a bit like a tribal warrior, to me, walking along, when vertical, and reminisent of a local landscape, when horizontal….
Then there came another local, art initiative.
A Craignish ‘lockdown’ postcard art exhibition!
Postcard sized creations on the theme of ‘Craignish Lockdown’.
Blank postcards to be collected from the village shop and returned to the special postbox on the counter, or the co-ordinator…
To be exhibited in the village hall and, hopefully seen, as restrictions to movement and social distancing roles ‘loosen’.
Another wonderful idea!
This is my submission.
In honor of this old freind we have lost during this Time.
I painted the tree, using just the local mud, then hid that behind an aboriginal style, dot-work, design, as a nod to it’s ancestors.
The central ‘dots’ were punched out the bark of the tree itself and stuck on.
I wrote the poem above on the back.
Looking forward to seeing everyone’s ‘lockdown art’ all together… soon’ish’!?
The next and the last.
Ardfern Lockdown Art Challenge is going down in a blaze of orange and pinks! The prompt being ‘Colours of a Craignish Sunset’.
It has been decided to wind it down.
I will miss these weekly prompts to do something ‘other’!
This week I decided to simply use photographs of recent, incredible, sunsets here and make some mandalas….
Then after making them I thought I’d like to try taking it one step further and completly abstracting the mandala itself!
Can you see (from the above images) which photo was used to make which mandala and associated abstraction?
Then there were lots of other experiments!
I really quite liked this one….it became my cover photo on FB for a week or so.
Colours of a sunset through glass…..a bit like a lockdown?
So this is the last week of prompts.
I’ll miss this lovely project that connected me to the village more.
Restricitions on movement are ‘loosening’, the people are ‘bubbling’……not entirely sure what I feel about that….
Always lots more to be getting along with here though, without going anywhere!
Sometimes I feel Grateful that we live ‘past tarmac’, so off the beaten track.
Prompted by the invitation to contribute some music to a project, and divinely ‘poked’ by feeling the need to revisit the, (actually NOT all so happy), lyrics of Bob Marley’s ‘One Love. One Heart’.
In these ‘pandemic’ days ‘getting together’ is becoming increasingly difficult and nothing, as yet, seems clear.
I found myself wondering what his song would sound like in a MINOR key?
That, in turn, ‘jumped’ me back to India and the, often melancholy, Indian scale.
I once studied classical bansuri (flute, taught in a similar way to voice) in Benares, for a short while, (over 30 years ago!), so have the very, very basics….
My guru, of then, would be appalled at this. Like martial arts, each tone/stroke/phrase, in the classical traditions, must be practised for many, many years, before such experimentation can even begin!!
I also attended a wonderful raaga learning afternoon, more recently with our very own, local, genuine, raaga STAR, Rajeswar. Pretty sure he would be appalled too!
Anyhoo… in the end….in the spirit of One Love…..this is what ‘arose’, in a few hours of playing around with Audacity app and an old keyboard.
A Jamaican inspired, Hindu-raag-style melody, sung by a middle-aged, Anglo-Finn, in a box room in Scotland!
ONE EARTH. ONE LOVE
(video is of a kind of ‘altar’, of collected, treasured, inspitational, ‘forms’ I stare at a lot when I am working: on my windowsill. Yes, there are dead insects…..and a real spider’s web there at the moment!
Also some of Frances Drewery’s, (local friend and very talented artist’s), work….that I kind of collect …placed among them….)
Sa- ni sa re / pa- ga re sa re sa ga- re- sa-
(One Love, one heart, let’s get together and feel alright)
ga ma ni sa’ ga’ re’ sa’ / ga’ re’ sa’ da sa’ da ma-
(Hear the children crying, hear the children crying)
Da- ma pa ga re ga sa ga- re- sa-/
Da- ma pa ga re ga sa ga – re- sa-
(let’s get together and feel alright)
ni sa ni ma ni sa (optional variants)
Ma- pa ga- ni da ma
(let them all pass their dirty remarks)
ma da ma- pa ga ma pa ga pa ga-
(there is one question that I’d really like to ask)
ma pa ga- sa’ ni da ma
(Is there a place for the hopeless sinner..)
ga re ma ni sa’ ma pa ga sa ma ga- re- sa-.
(Who has hurt all mankind just to save his own?)
(repeat One love section…fade out with ni sa varients)
This was a fun one.
The prompt from our local, lockdown, Art Challenge was ‘Fish/Boat/Sea’ Wave’.
As usual I always use this challenge to push myself out of my comfort zone and already knew that for this week I wanted to ‘build’ something, using some of the vast collection of recycled bits and bobs I have been gathering over the years, keeping out of the landfill.
As I sat in the art-den and contemplated what I could do, I began to wonder what a fishing boat might look like from the point of view of a fish!?
It was not long before I spotted an old, wall-light, glass staring at me, unblinking.
And so this piece began to intuitivley build from there!
I used some up some old glass paint and painted a simple fish eye, on the outside of, the frosted glass.
I then looked at some images of photographs, taken from under water, of boats.
Then turning it over, I painted a basic boat shape and a few fish ‘dots’, then placed an old lemon bag net on it, and, messily, began to layer two shades of blue crepe-paper over that.
I had no idea if it would work or not!
But was very happily suprised when I held it up to the sun. really quite an effective illusion!
As a family we enjoyed the way it changed as night fell….
So, another peculiar, ‘object d’arte’, curiosity to clutter up our house!
Such an odd thing!
So strange. This lockdown. Such world wide effects.
Yet here on the hill all Time stands still.
Only the media keeping us connected to the chaos outside.
When I do not watch/listen all is fine.
All is good.
I venture out on our bi-weekly shopping trips as if going to war.
But it is unlike any war I could have envisioned.
Empty streets. Confused people.
All doing as demanded. All socially distant.
Fearful of each other, yet being polite. So polite.
I smile and say “Doing the doesy-do” as we side step each other.
I approach these trips out with trepidation.
Gloves. Check. Scarf, Check. Han Sanitizer. Check.
On return all the shopping/car is wiped down.
Goods all put in quarantine.
Our shops are 21 miles away.
Why do I feel guilty if I stop for a short wander on a deserted hill, along a deserted shore?
Not touching anything except my camera?
The programming is working.
Hard to ignore the death toll.
Hard to ignore too the insessant advertizing of digital products on our mainstream TV.
“Use ‘Team’, all the proffessionals are.”
The laughing families connecting on this gadget or another.
The endless online occupations for bored people in houses.
Email after email inviting me to join with Zoom, yoga, meditation, chat rooms….
Whatever did we do before the advent of the internet?
Would it really be so bad to sit and read, and draw, and wander, to make space to dream a little? To garden, to cook, to wander with no desitination, to rise with the sun and go to bed at dusk?
So bad to worry? Perhaps to pray?
Alone. Without being seen? Without being witnessed?
I guess the dependance was already in place.
I see it in this blog, my own distracted use of facebook.
My children’s sticky screens.
My husband’s new love of old shows on the TV….and ‘Judge Judy’.
Endless Judge Judy and ‘how to’ mechanical videos.
Like there is no ‘outside’ anymore.
Here where all this spring beauty and space just begs for us all to wake up to it…..
I guess many are forgetting how to just be.
“It’s the devil makes work for idle hands.’
I do my share of digital connecting too. Not innocent. but today has been a good day.
I started another sourdough loaf, to bake later.
I dug out 30 or so bramble root balls to try and stop it taking over the whole bank.
I watered my seedlings and sang to them.
I listened to the birds and sat by our tiny pond a while. Tadpole watching.
I meditated for an hour and envisioned only the good of the whole.
Offering hands and asking ‘Show me’.
I thought about Death quite alot.
I find myself thinking quite a bit about Death these strange days.
Cycles. Creation/Destruction. Beginnings and Endings.
“Beause the Earth is round there is no beginning and no end.” I wrote.
We phoned Granny today. It is her birthday. She is 86 years old.
I guess she also thinks about death quite a bit too.
It is my brother’s birthday also.
I dug up some old pictures of us when we were kids and sent them to him on messenger.
Experiencing such waves of nostalgia. So precious Life.
I went out on Earth Day and sang a song to the alder trees, by the burn.
To share with all dear Treesisters who are ‘Singing for the Trees’ today.
‘All connected through the forest floor.’
I prefer this way of connecting to this digital connection.
I cut my own hair. Badly.
So let my husband shave it all off again.
Now this is a pandemic haircut!
Wonder how many are making a similar choice?
I am working on more illustrations, in mud.
I have a new challenge from the local art group.
Funny how that fits exactly with a picture I have been dreaming up for so long now. Think I will spend some Time, later, working that up, before getting on with cooking tea.
A curry tonight I think…..
Mainly I have been just gazing in awe at the rampant march of Spring all around.
The leaves burst out such a brillant green.
Oh how they shine!
We have had exceptional weather these last weeks….the air so dry. Unusually dry.
I feel it on my skin.
This easterly wind blowing all the Fear, of the main continent, our way.
I have had to moisturize, hydrate and water the garden everyday.
But somehow the leaves on the trees keep shining.
Their roots going down deep into the, until recently saturated, Earth.
Stunning in the sunsets we have have also been blessed with.
Let’s all keep shining our light. Turn over a new leaf.
Root down, while reaching for the sky.
And rest in just knowing we are all connected, whether the screens are on ….. or off.
I have dug out an old flower press and found these daffodils, pressed by my son, years ago.
So fragile and precious.
Thought I’d have a play with them.
And now here she is.
A wee smiling daffodil fairy.
In all her finery.
Sending love to all from this place on Earth, as the daffodils outside now also fade, replaced by blossom and startling greens.
Or perhaps this one…..