Tag Archives: creative process

The Gathering Storm

The Gathering Storm — acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 mm, 2018. Available.

A few days ago I mentioned that I’d written more than 90 six-word stories in the last two months (no small effort). ‘The Gathering Storm is the first painting to be inspired by one of those stories: “The gathering storm strengthened their resolve.”

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Here Comes the Sun

Here Comes the Sun — acrylic on canvas, 305 x 305 mm, 2018. Available.

So… I’m starting to get experimental with paint again : ) This quirky abstract was inspired by one of the digital collages I created on Polyvore.

Most days I veer wildly between two extremes, from being certain that I am on the right path creating art and building up my portfolio… to being certain that I am, in fact, not. Some days I don’t get out much and that doesn’t help either.

I have spent quite a lot of time over the last 18 months making digital collages in a social, encouraging environment online (the now defunct Polyvore website). I stepped away from the “business” side of art and immersed myself again purely in the process.  I learned to create in different ways, and it really sparked my imagination. I started getting bolder, discovered new motivations and perspectives, and it was brilliant fun.

Many people were shocked when Polyvore was shut down without warning. We lost the ability to make art in a particularly supportive yet challenging environment, we lost the ability to contact the friends we’d made, and it left a huge hole in our lives. But it hasn’t been all bad. When Polyvore’s new owners pulled the plug on the website, yes, it was horrible, but it was also my chance to get away from the computer and start painting in the “real” world again.

Another factor that comes into play here is that I recently started a year-long project writing six-word stories. I’ve already written more than 90 stories/poems in two months and I’m now thinking that quite a few of them would make really good painting titles.

Yes, here comes the sun! 🌧

We are being painted

An Approach to Sunlight – acrylic on canvas, 405 x 405 mm, 2017

An Approach to Sunlight – acrylic on canvas, 405 x 405 mm, 2017

“To live is to paint, it is to create; but while we are painting, we are being painted, being created as well!” Mehmet Murat İldan

Here is one final Southern Alps painting… for now, anyway. ‘An Approach to Sunlight’ completes the 16″ x 16″ trilogy. It’s a little wilder and more colourful than its siblings.

I think it’s time to move away from the mountains and do something else. I’m not short of ideas — far from it — it’s just a matter of deciding which one to tackle next. Any suggestions?

Any road will take you there

Any Road Will Take You There – acrylic on canvas, 405 x 405 mm, 2017. Available for purchase.

Any Road Will Take You There – acrylic on canvas, 405 x 405 mm, 2017 (sold)

God bless our contradictions, those parts of us which seem out of character. Let us be boldly and gladly out of character. Let us be creatures of paradox and variety: creatures of contrast; of light and shade: creatures of faith. God be our constant. Let us step out of character into the unknown, to struggle and love and do what we will. Amen.
‘A Note on God’ by Michael Leunig

Yes, I’m still exploring Arthur’s Pass in paint. ‘Any Road Will Take You There’ is similar to ‘A Road Runs Through It’ and ‘Summer Somewhere’ but also quite different. This time I’ve hinted at the telegraph poles and allowed the foreground to melt into the mountains. I really pushed myself to do something I hadn’t done before and I’m very happy with the result. And if the title sounds familiar, that’s because it’s a paraphrase of a line spoken by the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road can take you there.” It’s also a line from a George Harrison song but I didn’t realise that until after I’d named it.

Questions

Summer Somewhere – acrylic on canvas, 405 x 405 mm, 2017

Summer Somewhere – acrylic on canvas, 405 x 405 mm, 2017

“The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.” Anton Chekhov

I found myself asking a lot of questions while painting ‘Summer Somewhere’ — mainly about colour, mood, and about what was essential to the picture. I painted telegraph poles; I took them out. I had the blue road disappearing into the horizon because that’s what it did; I painted over it. It was too cold, all blue and white and green and grey; I mixed an entirely new palette for the middle foreground. And then I stopped…