Way back in December 2009, I reinvented myself and became an artist. It has taken quite a bit of practice to be able to say that without giggling or feeling self-conscious. Some days I revert to describing myself as a painter or a graphic designer, but the good days find me happy to tell it like it is. I still remember discovering Danny Gregory’s book The Creative License: Giving yourself permission to be the artist you truly are ~ I bought a journal and a nice black ink pen and have never looked back. Well, obviously I’m looking back now… but you know what I mean.
“Whenever I try to finish a painting by carefully cleaning up all the parts—removing smudges, perfecting the drawing, spiffing and polishing—as I work, the spirit slowly drains out of it. This approach to finishing leaves me unsatisfied and leads to my either abandoning the painting before it is complete or just stopping and calling it “finished” in spite of my dissatisfaction. I know that Nature is not polished and uniform, all clear, clean and tidy, but raw and variable, messy, ambiguous, and indefinite. And above all, nature is dynamic. It stands to reason that a painting of Nature must somehow include these qualities. What if focusing on details and formal accuracy won’t ever get me there?”
“What if I just focus on representing the underlying essence of my subject and my relationship to, and feeling about, that essence?….Perhaps the best way to finish a painting is to try to move the subject ever more towards that state. I know when that character is developing in my painting because the image inspires that particular feeling I have when I stand before it in Nature. I know to keep working as long as I can make something more like its essential self. I know I need to stop as the image begins to move away from itself and become something else. Mysteriously, sometimes this process goes on for many days and even weeks as I devote hour after hour to the piece, other times I breathe a painting into being in a few hours, almost effortlessly, and only need the good sense to leave it alone (which is surprisingly difficult sometimes). So perhaps, in this way, my practice of finishing can be guided by Nature herself.”
“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” Muhammad Ali
Now framed, ‘The High Country’ will be making its debut at this year’s Pegasus Bay Art Show (Waimakariri, NZ). Artworks from 78 local artists will be exhibited and available for purchase. There will also be an art display by the children of Pegasus Bay School which I am very much looking forward to seeing. The art show runs from 21st – 23rd September.
“It’s only impossible if you stop to think about it.” Pirate Captain.
‘City Lights’ is my second black canvas diptych inspired by Melbourne at night. The photograph (below) that inspired the painting was taken somewhere near Lygon Street. The photo of the painting (above) doesn’t really do it justice. As much as I love painting these black canvases, I’m finding them almost impossible to photograph properly.
“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso
‘Chinatown’ (Melbourne) is my first ever painting on black canvas. I bought four little 4″ x 12″ canvases more than a year ago but I haven’t had the confidence to paint on them. Until now. I have no idea what flipped the switch that suddenly made it the right time but I’m so glad I did. Picking up a few tips from tutorials posted online definitely helped and it turns out that I absolutely love love love ❤❤❤ painting on black canvas.
There is a second black canvas diptych waiting in the wings, another Melbourne night cityscape. I have also bought some black gesso so that I can make my own black canvases and continue exploring this new way of painting. Happy days.