I’ve started, and for once finished!, more paintings in the past couple of weeks than in the whole of the previous year. Following years in the creative doldrums for various reasons – more on this to follow another day – I have finally begun to follow my own advice, and the creative example set by my daughter. At her age, it is so simple. She wants to draw or paint something, so she does. And when she is finished she stops, and shares her work. She does not worry about how it will turn out, whether the idea in her mind’s eye can be successfully translated onto the page, and she does not judge the end result. She feels the desire to create, and she does it. I was self-censoring to the point of paralysis. Over thinking, feeling inadequate, being disappointed by my shortcomings before I had even begun, so much so that I stopped beginning, let alone finishing, sharing, reflecting, and growing as an artist.
What’s the worst that can happen? It doesn’t turn out how you expect. Its not as good as you wanted. People don’t like it. You ‘waste’ some materials. Disappointing perhaps, maybe embarrassing, but really, is any of that so bad?
So here’s what I have been working on:
I am exploring the emotional and intellectual responses to and interactions with the landscapes we experience. We all have our own perceptions of beauty in landscape. The ones that stir my soul are giant rolling hillsides, a sense of air, or space, bleakness and wild uncompromising terrain, but always lush, green vegetation. The arid desert-scapes leave me cold, and thirsty.
I have spent years not painting landscapes, avoiding them, sulkily, because I have lived in cities. I’ve used it as an excuse ‘its claustrophobic and ugly. Its depressing and suffocating. I don’t want to look at that. There is no joy and beauty in these grey streets, choked with cars and litter and noisy messy people’.
But I am no longer allowing myself the luxury of excuses, as I said. So I looked again. At the elements that make a landscape sing for me, and at my immediate environment, and about where these two meet, and veer apart. And about my, and your, part in that process, how my interpretation and depiction of landscape can create another world, changed again by your reaction, by your emotions.The lines are blurring.
I’ve been working from my own photographs of more conventionally beautiful, and less immediately inspiring views, that nonetheless I feel had the same components – the ingredients if you like, of a beautiful landscape.
I overpainted old canvases and really like the added texture and depth that resulted.
I’ve historically painted figuratively and precisely and I really struggled with a feeling of freedom when I worked, everything was locked down and controlled, even when the outcome became more abstract (a flower series from several years ago which I will post at some point…). The flower series was bright and bold, but as part of my exploration I am looking at colour, and how removing or replacing expected colours, affects our interpretation of and connection to what we see.
The small pieces are currently untitled, I know the source material and don’t want any reference to that to influence the works themselves.