Of all the styles I’ve dabbled in over the last few years, I always, always come back to this. It’s where I feel most ‘me’ and is a truly happy, free place. Yes, I love architecture and drawing and florals and watercolours and filling sketchbooks and painting en plein air but this right here is where it feels like home. Big. Bold. Brash. I start these pieces with a memory and a feeling and see where it goes.
Much as we like to think we ‘improve’ as artists, and we strive to learn and develop … as we absolutely should, I might add, what comes naturally will always come out and we should embrace that. For a long time, as I delved into different styles, learnt and embraced techniques, I tried to move away from this style. I was actually a little ashamed of its perceived naivety. Also the fact that it came easily, meant I didn’t feel its worth and thought for something to be good, it had to be hard work. Well I am a stupid person and old enough to know better because this mindset is wrong. WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. Yes, develop your skills. Try new techniques. Read, look, experiment, take classes, courses, do ALL of it. It will all be nourishing and ultimately useful. But then listen carefully to your own voice and use it in all its unique glory.
Below are older paintings stretching back to 2013.
Throughout this summer I’ve been working on a series of floral pieces, all on paper. This batch is called Deep Summer and my aim is to continue with an autumn batch, then winter and … you get the picture.
All of these pieces are on half sheet watercolour paper (22” x 15”) using inks, pastels, acrylics and pencils. There’s even some glitter 😁
I love to paint from real life but it’s restricting. Very few people have the privilege or freedom to travel, especially at the moment. But we can invoke memories, harness imagination and go anywhere we please and make anything we please.
I love this quote from Georgia O’Keeffe …
Imagined landscapes are freeing to paint. You are architect and town planner. You can access memories of places you’ve been and envision places you’d like to go. You can create wherever you chose and that’s magic.
I can’t let a bad canvas go. I may put it to one side for a while but it always gets hauled out again, sometimes scrubbed over with gesso, sometimes parts obliterated and others left. Sometimes I pick out new shapes, block in negative space. Maybe add some collage or text. Eventually .. and this may take time … it works out and if it really, really doesn’t, I dismantle it, and cut out shapes to be used in future pieces. They can be used as collage. They can be used to make cards. Waste nothing. Materials are expensive and there’s something very satisfying about getting use out of every scrap.
This week has been about just having fun with colours and textures. Hedgerows and gardens are beginning to explode with colour and I wanted to paint like I was in amongst the action. This week has also been short on studio time and that means no faffing, just do something, anything and enjoy it.
I used a mixture of fluid acrylic, soft body, inks, pencil (mainly Woody Stabilos), crayons and anything close to hand to make marks.