Friday, 25 March 2011

A little way from finishing

As the weeks of daily office work mount up, its effect on my art becomes apparent. Most notably, it limits the time I can paint down to just weekends, as there is not enough head room on workday evenings to even contemplate painting. So each weekend I work on my paintings, however I am yet to finish one. Instead, the five day breaks between sessions mean that when I return to work on a piece, the original motivation for the work has altered. To work on further in light of this means either to make a mess of the piece, or to alter is so fully that the original idea is irrecoverably altered. Rather than risk falling into either of these situations, I have been putting half-worked pieces aside, to complete when I return to painting daily in a week's time. These are the thoughts in my head as I head into one last office life weekend.

Friday, 18 March 2011


Last weekend, after a week of office work, I was somewhat worried that I might not be able to get back to the place that I had worked my way into. It has taken more than a month of painting every day and talking about painting every day to get there. Having had that suddenly cut off was not nice. However, I really ought not to have worried.

In the middle of Saturday afternoon, a little while after I had tidied and cleaned, the need to paint just smoothly flowed into me. It wasn't subtle either. It just hit me: I must paint. I dropped whatever I was doing at the time, walked over to my board and picked up a brush. I was there. Back. A while later, when I stepped back, I realised that I was relieved.

On Sunday, I started a new piece. It was a reflection on the difficult week that had passed. This weekend I will be trying to pull that one back from the brink.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Changed priorities

There has been almost no art action this week, not through a lack of a desire to paint, but rather due to spending my day time working in an office. Unsurprisingly, spending a large part of one's day in an uninspiring environment is not condusive to creation. The freedom and space needed to create art is effectively destroyed, not just be being in this environment but also by the regimented hours required in attendance.

It proves that making art is not simply a case of simply turning up and getting on with the work. Art needs space, more than anything. What may seem to others as an artist flitting about and not actually working, is the necessary time needed to recharge one's creative batteries, the time needed to find the moment when creation can occur. Locked into the daily grind, this process atrophies.

Friday, 4 March 2011

With added relish

Over the past month, my painting journey has involved not only painting every single day, but also an awful lot of thinking about art and talking about art and then thinking some more about art. A cycle of thinking and talking and writing, with intense burst of painting mixed in. It has been a head-bending time, as I've grappled with concepts that I have both never considered and avoided, as well as creating paintings that I had never expected to. I've uttered surprising statements and watched amazed at some of the shapes flowing under my brushes.

Those brushes have become notably freer too, perhaps even more painterly, as I move further and further from my controlled, graphic nature. I've become more familiar with my materials, with the various consistencies and tones of my acrylics and the way their mixed pigments split in water. I've also began to re-discover materials I had not used in many years – pastel, oil pastel, oil sticks and hard pencils – which I have been adding to those acrylics to give texture, depth and shape.

My goal in all this is to capture something of the changes to my manner of thinking, my manner of perception, that I have spent the last few years working to alter to the positive. The underlying framework for each piece therefore becomes an interpretation of how I see the world and myself, of the past, the present and the future. More specifically, the pieces become a reflection of my state at the moment that my brushes, pencils, rags, roller and pastels move on the paper.

The three pieces I am sharing today, all as yet unnamed, are the first three finished paintings I have completed to my satisfaction in quite some time. It is only this week that I feel I have finally got to where I wanted to get and that, right now, is only the beginning. I do not know what will come next but I am looking forward to it with relish.