Friday, May 13, 2022

Some way back...

“Every child is an artist. The problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” Pablo Picasso

“I was 19, I was happy, wasn’t sure where I was going. Not much has changed in 30 years.” 

Those were the first lines written on this blog, Touches of sense…

Here I am in 2022, starting a new adventure, a web site, to be entitled: 

Some way back… 


I have always known that I was an artist.

My father used to ask me to illustrate his sermons. 

My mother told the school I painted like Lowry (I didn’t).

"I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit."

John Steinbeck.

My art teacher was a great teacher, he would give me excellent marks and then fail to convince me to do some work. 

Others told me to concentrate on more serious subjects.

Below is a drawing I knocked off for homework when I was 16 years old. 

The art teacher’s comments have been nagging me ever since.

I am writing now as a 60 year old Anglo-French artist, driven by a single question:

“What happens when I really put my mind to developing a body of visual art?” 

Some way back…

is a means to document and share responses to that question. 

“An artist without faith is like a painter who was born blind.”

Andrei Tarkovsky

As an artist, I have been working passionately for the past 34 years as an English teacher with thousands of students, exploring the medium and discovering the desire and the means to transform it. I have spent years studying and adapting my actions to the complexity and unpredictability of human interactions and learning. Faith and hard work has enabled this artist to see further…

Art has always been a way to lose myself and to find myself elsewhere.

Along the way, 

I have developed my voice as a blogger in Touches of sense…, connected and collaborated as an educator and as an artist with kindred creative spirits from around the world and employed more or less academic genres to communicate and to publish radical educational messages. The 482 blog posts that I have written since 2010 have become progressively more and more concerned with visual art. The last one, Touches of light, preciously preserved marked some sort of epiphany.

“A page escapes to leafy paths[...]Ephemera rendered eternal.Taking a moment to contemplate. Pause, gaze, breathe in, remember. Moving, losing sight, feeling loss.

Ever since I was born, I have been acutely aware of the ephemeral nature of life and the infinite value of artistic expression. My father’s work was rhythmed by life’s passing seasons and the rituals of baptism, marriage,and death. My mother shared her love for music, poetry, gardening and nature,and an eye for beauty to be found in driftwood, pebbles, and bric-à-brac. 

Some way back…

Is made up of moments of figurative and abstract meaning making. I find flow and express emotions by letting myself be moved by the moment, the media, making marks intentionally or serendipitously. I am drawn to gaze at distant horizons and to investigate universes glimpsed through close focus. At times, images emerge organically with no apparent source. Certain motifs are  recurrent: nature, landscape, seascapes, mountains, rocks, trees, paths…the objective is always to discover new lands to be able to perceive what lies beyond the self, the subject, the page.

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."

Marcel Proust

Touches of sense… has been a means to map out areas I want to explore and to excavate and to study the reasons why they are important.

Each collection, each image has its back story. Some way back will build upon these foundations. 

Between 2014, and 2018 much of my artistic work was multi-media,collaborative and digital, combining poetry, spoken voice and images in assemblages. I owe much to my friends of #clmooc.


Since 2018, starting with “A vine branches wildly…”  I have concentrated my art practice predominantly on watercolor painting, ink, charcoal and graphite drawing. 

The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know and how much you need to learn.

When I speak to those who I consider to be master artists, I am comforted when they agree with this quote of George Leonard:

“We fail to realise that mastery is not about perfection. It’s about a process, a journey. The master is the one who stays on the path day after day, year after year. The master is the one who is willing to fail, and try again. For as long as he or she lives.”

I have stayed true to my path day after day, year after year. 

To my surprise it appears that this is its latest twist. 

I am working now on some way forward.

Simon Ensor

Artist exploring the ephemeral nature of life via figuration & abstraction, flow & scribble, intention & serendipity.

I have no idea whether this will be the last post in Touches of sense...
It has been quite a while since I felt moved to write here.
The words just wouldn't come...