During these interesting times, I spent the whole of May, noticing what interests me in other peoples art work and in my own, wondering why I was drawn to it?
The previous month had been about activity and being very busy. Creating new small works on paper, starting new work on some big canvasses that I had, finishing off some previously unresolved pieces, ordering new supplies from #jacksons #cassart #greatart. And cellophane bags and mounts from #cotswoldmounts to present work professionally, books, paper...on and on, April went by in a flash!
May took on a different tone, it was less frenetic, a more reflective phase, more journal writing. Some of the things I discovered were surprising, others not so much as I am fairly self-aware, but at least I have clarified why I like what I like and why I might have noticed them initially and what that may say about me at this moment.
Firstly, I had a look at the pins I have saved on Pinterest, asking myself questions. Why had I been drawn to them? What had captured my attention, in other artists work? Plus it created an opportunity to curate my saved boards, as some things no longer resonated with me.
What I found was as an abstract landscape artist myself, I am drawn to other abstract landscape art work! No surprise there. But the nature of those saved peices had some common threads, open and airy with a sense of place and space. Work on large canvasses, with bold gestural mark making, again not very surprising to me, as that is what to try to evoke in my own work.
The reason behind why I like what I like is more about my internal voice. I like big skies, the sense of space to breath, aloneness, peace, complete freedom to run, jump, shout, sing, scream even, and the solid permanence of the 'thing' that will absorb it, hold it. For me that is Dartmoor, with its wild rugged beauty.
When I examined my own work and what I particularly liked, it's the mark making the harmony of the colour palettes, the bold strokes, and the quiet strength they ofen evoke. Qualities I value in others that are important influences, and match my own personal values.
As a therapist I am aware that "Where Thoughts Go Energy Flows". Obviously this can be practised with full awareness and intent to bring about change. However, it also works on an unconscious level. For example, whilst working on my recently completed pieces, my eldest grandson was in the midst of ungoing the most rigorous and gruelling training program to join the Para's, and my thoughts not unsurprisingly were with him constantly. With the unique benefit of hindsight and just taking the time to notice, the results of my thoughts in those pieces are evident in the choice of palette and composition. Which is why I've called them Camo' Country and Undercover Country, in tribute.
I have also noticed that I really enjoy working on square substrates, whether that's on canvass, wood panels, paper or in sketch books. Whats that about?
When we drove over the moor a few days ago, when the easement of lock down was first announced, I noticed things I hadn't seen or registered previously, probably because I was being driven rather than driving myself. Those narrow, windy up and down roads across the moor need your full attention! I saw low stone walls that created squared off areas for containment of sheep or cattle, within this vast landscape. Creating boundaries within the loose structure. It's given me ideas to explore futher and wonder how those influences will show up in a new serise of work.
So just taking time to notice what you notice and why, if you don't do it already, can be a really useful and productive thing to do. Especially as we go forward. What have we missed and why? What have we done without and not missed and why?...