Monday, 30 December 2013

(Almost) The End OF 2013

Well, last year I reviewed the year just gone and then looked forward at what I might be doing. So, what did I achieve from my list?

I did go to Italy, as well as Paris and up to Connel. In particular, I went to a residency with the Jerusalem Studio School in Civita Castellana. It is advertised as " an incomparable incubator-like environment to the serious artist seeking a setting attuned to intense work, reflection, exploration, artistic growth, conversation, exchange and excursions – an artistic experience that can nourish a lifetime of work." and for once the advertising actually down plays the experience. Being there, talking to other artists, seeing their work in progress and experiencing Rome has clarified my path. Although I wrote last year about doing more landscapes, I now feel that this is something that should wait. It is people and their stories I am passionate about and therefore will be painting. Rome showed me what kind of work I really do not like - all those half naked, posturing, empty-headed women - which has given me a very strong urge to create the opposite - strong, intelligent people.

The other big events of the year was moving into a studio, then having my painting shoulder operated on a couple of weeks later. The two together has enabled whole new ways of working - in series, at an easel, using bigger brushes and bigger canvases, for starters. In many ways I am still processing the changes, but the results should be visible over the next six months - and next week I will write about these aims for the year to come.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Thinking Time

The last few months have been full of thinking and research - activities that so far haven't produced an image I can show.

But taking the time to plan a group of work has been very rewarding. I can see quite clearly now the themes of the paintings I will be doing for a bit and although this means I am restricting myself in many ways this feels natural. Several outside restrictions (bad shoulder meaning being unable to use an easel, not having a studio, not having decent light, not having good reference material etc) have now been resolved so for the first time what I make is up to me.

So I have decided to mainly work with people, particularly how they use their appearance to communicate. Still a very broad area - but one I am finding fascinating, especially as it is allowing me to look into how we transform ourselves. Watching Disney films (looking at how the idea of the princess has taken hold in our culture, among other themes) has suddenly become research. Reading Shakespeare, Alice In Wonderland and The Sandman series is data collection. Talking to people about their day dreams and playing dress up is work.

The first paintings are in progress, so expect more specific musings in future. Also, posts will be more regular and mainly on Sundays. Except for February, when there will be a drawing a day, hopefully as part of 28 drawings later .