Friday, 10 February 2012

Don't worry…

Since early last year, I have been exploring abstract painting as a means of self expression. All the work I have created since then has been, in one sense, a snapshot of a particular moment in time and the state of my mind at that moment.

When I began my current body of work for April's exhibition at Union Gallery, I had in mind an over-arching theme that would intersect with that self-expression ideal. That theme was borne on my flight home from Fayetteville in November. Leaving behind Megan there and heading back home, I had a feeling of being torn between two geographical locations and between two possible futures. This, I decided, could become a loose framework around which my work could be built.

In late December when I finally put paint to panel, that torn feeling still had coherence. However the feeling had diminished somewhat with the sad abandonment of the Fayetteville Artist's Alliance, which had been the town's main attraction, after Megan. The torn feeling was lessened even further, when Megan herself left Fayetteville to visit Edinburgh.

With the loose framework that the torn feeling had provided now largely missing, I was left floundering. I knew that my paintings must mean something to me, that I needed the initial meaning as a connection, as a sort of internal badge of worth because without it I can all too often end up feeling as if I am simply moving paint around, making a decoration, not art and that is not enough for me.

Unfinished, untitled, not even dry yet, at 24x24"
this is the largest painting I have worked on
for months. (© Stewart Bremner 2012)
Yesterday, I set aside my worries, about both my self-imposed (false) framework and moving onto a large panel and began my biggest solo painting since July. I simply let myself move and, I think, maybe, that it is going to be one of the strongest pieces in my show.

In retrospect, my worrying has been a bit silly. I find my meaning, that internal badge, examining my mind state in the moments of creation. The idea that I was going to use one over-arching theme as a framework clearly acts against the spontaneity that my approach benefits from. It is little wonder, then, that I managed to tie myself up in knots.

With fourteen small pieces in a state of mostly finished and five more large panels to work on, my half of April's exhibition is coming along nicely. I've made some of the best paintings of my career and I've enjoyed the process of painting more than I even have before. If I can keep that in mind and stop bloody worrying, the show is going to be a killer!

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