I always feel totally clueless........ in the beginning. But it's really the best way to feel at the start of a painting. And for me, the only way to feel when I'm staring at a blank canvas.
How can you begin a painting without any idea of what you're aiming for, or what the painting will be about, or even what you envisage it might look like when its done? I hear you ask!
Therein lies the joy of painting for me.
A story yet to be told.
The unknown and the unknowable until I begin to make those first few marks.
A new and unique journey that will unfold of it's own free will as I tune out of everything except what the painting is saying to me - I need a splash of colour here or some scratchy lines there, a piece of print, a series of shapes, too much of this, too little of that.
Cover this ugly bit, celebrate this precious bit!
Clues about what to do next come along as I work, there aren't any in the beginning. I just have to commit to following the trail to see where it will all lead.
And because I'm so invested in the act of creating and the process of painting, I don't think about where I'm going, I just go; and I can have no 'end' in mind, it's just not possible. I can't know the destination if I don't know where I'm going.
It's a bit like starting out in complete darkness, with no reference points, nothing familiar and no way of knowing the best direction to go in. But as the work starts to happen I see a light in the distance, and then another and then another and suddenly I find the way forward becomes clear.
And that's the best part.
I know that as long as I keep working at it, and I'm prepared to let go of small details in pursuit of the greater whole, resolution will finally come and the destination will be revealed.
And when I reflect on what I've created, I find I've told a new story, one that I didn't even know was within me to be told.
The painting process for me is about revelation, commitment and letting stories come to life.
I've been busy preparing to begin some new paintings and I'm in the process clearing the bench tops in the studio to make some space and naturally I found distractions everywhere!
My latest sketch revisits a messy piece of gessoed paper I started during Noosa Open Studios, really just as a demonstration piece. It has languished unfinished in a pile since then, so I thought I'd go back and see if I could pick up the threads and make something of it. There were quite a few twists and turns in resolving it!
After a bit of a sort out of my shelves of collage material, I found my stash of prints was running a bit low in some colours...time for a printmaking session! And thought I'd share with you a simple packaging print Vlog and some notes about the process and making 'graphic' and 'ghost' prints. Enjoy!
And whilst I'm in that space 'between' paintings, I couldn't resist having a go at the intaglio printing technique using carved Tetrapaks, which has been on my list of things to try as a way to develop my sketches beyond the page and into the realms of something new.
I used my recent sketchbook explorations as a starting point and worked on three designs, learning about the process and sparking even more new ideas as I went along!
I'm not sure how this process might fit with my next series of paintings - maybe it won't at all, but It's given me some options to think about. There's definitely more to learn, but I enjoyed the process and loved the resulting prints, so I'm sure it's something I'll come back to at some stage.
You can read more about these experimental pieces in my Blog post:
So until next month, enjoy your studio time and embrace clueless wanderings if they come your way, you might be surprised where you end up!
Thanks to everyone who took the time to get in touch after watching last month's 'Exploration Time' Vlog to let me know how much you enjoyed it - its lovely to know my content is bringing smiles and joy to you all.
I'd love to hear you from you if you have any questions about what's happening in the studio, feel free to get in touch anytime!
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