This was made in the few months after my first trip to Japan. I had moved out of my home and sold it on the 11th of April 2012. It's hard to believe it has been 8 years ago, already. As they say, time flies, somewhere anyway.
What are we left with? Memories? Dreams? Certainly lots of reflections which only engender even more reflections, and possibly more dreams.
I knew that immediately after moving out that I wanted to turn myself upside down, inside out if possible, not exactly a pause, but a shake-up between chapters of a life which I had hitherto written in my head. So, I decided to go to Japan where I had never been before. I had initially thought to go back to India on a drawing trip but the visa was too troublesome to procure, and India would have given me a headache anyway. Japan was the perfect place, a place I wish I had gone when I was younger in fact. I left for a month.
When I returned to France I rented a small place not far from where I had lived, a few villages away. I knew the owners only socially to be lovers of art. There was a small garden just down below the house where I spent my mornings writing and making these gouaches. There was a small brook which gurgled right through the garden so it was very, very perfect. When I had arrived at the end of May everything was green, and separated by poppies. Crickets flooded the evening air. Soon enough though, the summer kicked in and the cigales were grinding the afternoons down to tiny pebbles.
Then summer gave way to autumn before I made my was back to London, then on to Australia by early November. It was a strange period, I was feeling vaguely anxious living in France without a fixed abode, something new. This uncertainty of where I might end up was gnawing away deep inside of me, barely audible. But at the same time it felt like being at the bow of a large boat on a crossing to somewhere new and foreign, the wind and waves slapping me incessantly. I felt alive.
And it was this state of uncertainty which gave rise to these small gouaches which I made during those two summers in Montbrison. There is something very Japanese about them, I think because everything about Japan seemed to crack my ribs wide open as if ready for open heart surgery.
Japan is unlike anywhere in the civilised world. An island whose culture remained mostly intact for 3000 years on its own. One could really fall in love with Japan.
And because I wanted to explore more of my heart I went back the next year and brought gouaches with me to work on the road.
It would be two years before I decided to make Australia my home.