Saturday, 14 September 2019

Living in the Moment I and II

Living in the Moment I
16" x 16" - acrylic & pastel on paper - $95


Living in the Moment II
16" x 16" - acrylic & pastel on paper - $95
I recently listened to a podcast by UK artist Louise Fletcher in which she discussed the importance of experimenting and allowing yourself studio time to explore and discover where that leads your art making, without worrying about producing a finished painting at the end of the day and what others thought. I felt like she was speaking to me! Over the last year I have been experimenting more and more with abstraction and non-objective painting that relies more on intuition and the elements of art and design and less on specific recognizable subject matter. Believe me, the latter is far easier than the former. It's not that I don't want to paint (even abstracted) landscapes etc., it's just that I felt in need of a change in direction or re-examination of how and why I paint and make art. A re-boot. Perhaps the older I get the more I need to feast my eyes on beautiful arrangements of colour, line and shape rather than recognize a place or thing. I also wanted to scale up and work on larger surfaces which should not be daunting but it is.
With Louise's words in mind last weekend I set out to not worry about making a good painting, but to just enjoy the process and accept whatever happened. So I painted like crazy for many hours over two days and had the best time!!!
I started with 2 large 18"x18" pieces of made-for-acrylic-paint-paper taped side by side on a board set up on my easel then drew lines and some shapes with pastel, working across the two surfaces, treating them like one. Then I applied transparent and opaque layers of acrylic paint wherever it felt right. Didn't worry. I alternated between drawing and painting building up the surface using brushes, knives, scrapers, and then wiping some of it out, and repeating. Tried not to worry.
Here are some of the progress shots.....



In retrospect I am not sure why I worked on two surfaces rather than one larger one. I didn't necessarily intend to create a diptych. The masking tape separating the papers became covered with paint quite quickly and I began to see the two much more as one surface not two. This was interesting because a lot was happening in the middle of the composition (in terms of value) despite turning the board around and around trying to see each paper and the two together, from different perspectives.  

When I got to this point I decided it was time to stop because I really liked it! In looking at the one surface/composition I saw a central dark shape that seems to 'anchor' and 'hold up' the warmer, lighter, colourful shapes spreading out to the left and right. 
When I removed the tape and separated the two, naturally the single composition split in two and suddenly it was quite different from the way I had seen it and created it. I was a little disappointed with this loss but the advantage, was that I could turn each piece and look at it in whatever way I liked. They connect through colour and line etc. but are independent of each other too. 
I have now (temporarily) framed them as 'squares' and stood them on a table where I continue to enjoy them as well as turn them just to see different perspectives.  They are for sale, singly or together. 
It was a great painting experience and a process that I will continue to explore, but hopefully larger. Have a great weekend.


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