There are 16 paintings in a collection exhibited at King’s Hill Property Trust, Kent entitled “Treasured Every Note”, it will be there until May. You may have noticed that this is the same title as the previous painting posted in this blog. Fantastic.
It’s an important title for me, representing a period of time, which has by no stretch of the imagination been easy. However, life throws things at you, sometimes out of the blue and sometimes you can see or feel it coming but it’s important to notice everything. It’s important to feel it – pleasure and pain.
My life is in these paintings, not literally nor in any representative way but they certainly carry emotions. I have sometimes hidden behind abstraction, perhaps believing that it’s kind of like revealing yourself but in secret, so no-one really knows anything about you. However, I can see looking back at this body of work that it carries intensity, depth and the complexity of the mixed emotions that have been experienced. Layers of transparent colour over textured surfaces, which are littered with floating and tangled shapes require you to look deeply, to look through and beyond. The need to pack everything in so tightly implies pressure and yet there are calm elements, not resigned or ignorant but defining strength and internal power. This is why the title is so important. I want to feel my wisdom as it grows, every uncomfortable and important moment of it.
Your intellect may be confused but your emotions will never lie to you. Roger Ebert, film critic
oil on canvas – 100 x 100cm
The day of the first Opening of the Affordable Art Fair 2017. I’m feeling chilled and prepared.
I have finally remembered that I love doing things like this. I get a kick from being organised, particularly as this is something that I used to be shocking at. I am looking forward to meeting people, chatting, sharing my thoughts and listening to other people’s ideas.
Seeing the place yesterday come to life in the hours that I was there it was exciting – it’s definitely worth the visit. So if you’re thinking of coming along, pop along to stand E4 Turning Tides Contemporary Art and say Hi, it will be great to meet you.
oil on canvas
100 x 100 cm
I can’t believe my luck. As I’m writing this I am itching to be in my new studio. I’m also itching to buy a comfy seat…every studio needs a comfy chair for timely contemplations. And itching to enlist help to get a work table in there. Given these circumstances this blog will be brief. It’s a beautiful space in the lovely village of Cuckfield. I have a wonderful landlord who gives me freedom and privacy but is great to chat to particularly about literature.
I know that as I settle into this beautiful space, with a large window looking onto the South Downs, that I will settle into a working routine. Given the messy nature of my mind I love the structure of a routine. Within that timely routine of course there is complete freedom over what I choose to do. So at the moment my mind is racing with lots of canvases on the go, drawings, collages and ideas to put into action.
Time to go…
I don’t think about art when I’m working. I try to think about life.
I found this a while ago. Tips like this are always helpful but it’s easy to lose sheets of paper so putting it in my blog seems a good place to find it again when it’s needed. Luckily I re-found it whilst deleting masses of emails…yes I feel lighter, there were hundreds! I am just about to photograph works to make some reproductions so perfect timing.
I hope this helps those of you promoting your work.
I’ve been inspired by a book “Spark Joy” a guide to the art of Japanese tidying”. It was bought as a joke for our daughter but I was the one reading it hungrily during the holidays before she left again for Uni. Ironically she didn’t take it.
In essence everything from one category such as clothing is gathered in one space. Each item held in turn, you ask “Does this bring me joy?” If the answer is yes it will be folded, maybe rolled and tidied away. If no, then gratitude is shown for its use and then let go, given away after being packed away respectfully. The storage is then organised in such a way that it is easy to access, with just the right amount and looks beautiful. The emphasis is upon caring for those things that continue to serve a purpose. Joy comes with every use of the storage and the objects.
I have pared down the contents of my studio. It’s true that it is a pleasure to use. Things organised by type in simple boxes, manageable sizes to handle, big enough to house what’s necessary.
During the process I found lots of art magazines, that I haven’t picked up to read again since buying them…until last week. I have found some gems of inspiration and kept those in one small book. I’m distilling my life a cupboard at a time.
What a gift. And what better way to celebrate than to get messy with some collage.
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow”
Reflecting on the last month or so I’ve been wondering what are my priorities? What do I need to do? What do I want to do? What is good for me to do? What will help make progress? What is great fun? What inspires me?
I’ve been using a system in which I have set goals for three months. I have planned roughly what needs to happen over this period each week. Then daily I can target bite sized chunks. Lo and behold…I’ve been getting lots done. It’s great.
But at the end of each week when paying attention to how I managed my time, a pattern has emerged. I tend to prioritise tasks that I find difficult; which is good (I didn’t used to). They take a long time; which is inevitable. I have learned lots of new stuff; which is fantastic. Yet painting, the very thing that I love, the thing that fills me with spirit had only happened on average three times a week. Not good, not good at all.
Thankfully I’m still within my three months and I have realised that this is my forever highest priority. Phew! So I have been habit stacking. Gradually adding new habits to things I was already doing and it’s really working. Here’s my happy habits.
Early to rise, I read a novel for half an hour. Have breakfast. A quick Spanish lesson for fifteen minutes. Then studio time. Shower. Exercise. Lunch.
This way all my needs are met and I still have the afternoon. I can do more of the same or choose something entirely different. My painting is flowing. I’m loving the novels. My Spanish is improving. I’m getting fitter. Taking photographs on walks.
“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”
Leonardo Da Vinci
I love good titles. For me, good titles are those that allow me into the painting but don’t tell me exactly what to think. If the title limits where I can go with my imagination as I enjoy a piece of artwork I become frustrated, I can go off them, which is not a great outcome!
I whole-heartedly love paintings, I love making them and love spending time looking at them. My preferred occupation as a viewer is to ask questions and spend time pondering on what it means to me today…because tomorrow it may be different. Then I do it again and again. It’s like a game where time has to be involved because that makes it more fun.
It is as if my exploration of paintings is a key to unlocking my mind and my appalling memory. There have been numerous occasions when friends and family recount a funny story of our lives and I’m reminded that I was there. They give me the prompts to unlock a memory. On my own I need another device…and that takes the form of art, music and poetry.
I spend days reading poetry interspersed with hours paying attention to lyrics in songs. I get my brain into thinking in words and phrases instead of colours and marks. I gather phrases that call out to me, that make connections and I match them to working titles and existing paintings. Then I need to live with them to make sure that they fit. It’s a truly worthwhile investment of time.
“Fruit Salad” for example. It may be very simple but it takes me right back to childhood, to a place and time when I walked to junior school past the treasure trove of a sweet shop where I could get a handful of sweets for a penny. There is a string of memories attached to that single prompt…it’s a good place. Perhaps layers of memories is more clear…and they go on. Is this why I am a painter?
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.