I am in a shifting space as an artist at the moment: less throttle, more maintenance.
This is a good thing for an artist really.
I play. I white-wash the walls. I then edit piles and piles of scraps of paper that I have collected: bits of graphics, words, images, shapes, colours…
I choose some of them to put up on the wall in my studio. I stare at the wall.
I have always found it very interesting to do this. What scraps I choose to put on the wall tells me what I as an artist am really interested in at the moment. It makes so much more explicit my artistic desires and impulses when I plaster my choices across the wall in front of me: what do those choices tell me about myself today? What is there and what is not? What motifs repeat and what are the commonalities? I see a lot of mid-century graphics. A lot of circles – why did I choose so many circles? I see New York influences with threads of the book I am reading. (“Man with a Blue scarf”) The choices seem to be extreme - either very graphic or very painterly – Mondrian to Auerbach – and I do love these styles. Some of the wall are scraps are ripped from old paintings of mine, and I fall in love with these tiny fragments. Once gestures mostly insignificant in their original work, they become dominant standing on their own, torn from context. The power of one tiny fragment suddenly surfaces as I focus on it as a whole rather than as a part.
It Happens Now, And There Is Nothing You Can Do About It
I cannot sleep at night for thinking about these small pieces, and what they might become. They keep me awake. My mind will not let it go. I must go downstairs. I must get the sewing machine out. I must start piecing these fragments together as I can see them in my head now. Now. I cannot wait, and there is nothing I can do about it. Sometimes – in fact, oftentimes – artistic expression is something that must occur in the immediate for fear of losing the moment. Scraps and fragments come alive; they begin to find meaning as I sew them together. As compositions develop, the past expressions of these fragments are synthesized with the Now. It’s a new expression. I pin them up in my room and can now fall asleep.
Don’t Stop Dreaming
I fall asleep. And when I do so, these days, I have been dreaming of fish. I’ve always been an avid swimmer. I’ve always had a love of fish as well. Maybe that’s an obvious connection, but fish have been filling my dreams recently. I am working on a fish mobile sculpture, having connected with welders and discussed the project with them already. Fish will make such a vibrant mobile: fantastic colours and wonderful shapes. I just love the idea of fish floating above my head in bed. They currently float in my head. Thinking about this project brings me back to my time in Bermuda; a lonely time in Bermuda. It was the fish – everyday – that became my friends. My daily swims were glorious: a sense of weightless freedom amongst these fish, ogling at their marvellous colours, shapes and purpose as they went about their business in the water. Enjoyment is in the water.
Back to the Surface
When I awake again, I get back in the studio to play. At the other end of the studio, far from yesterday’s wall, I indulge in the thick, gooey yumminess of oil paint. I enjoy the sensation of pushing unctuous cadmium yellow mixed with titanium white oil paint onto the canvas. It’s soooo good… The deliciousness of where two colours meet – the edge – the shapes and arms of the plant I am painting are dancing off my canvas, marks are running awry – and, me, so delirious between immersive enjoyment and the frustrating struggle of finding the work emerge. 5 large canvases are on order. Inspiration is upon me. My excitement is palpable. This is all in preparation for my Burdalls Yard show in June and my 44AD show in October: follow me on Instagram for the latest news on both those exhibits, or keep your eye on my blog for the next update!