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July 4, 2020

Art and a story – Abstract Representation

Oil on Canvas

Art Practise all a journey

Now I am a few years into my art practise I have an opportunity to reflect on everything. New work has begun to emerge. In an attempt to work from no plan but directly from the moment, ideas have presented themselves directly to canvas.

In my naivety, the tendency to want to create something to please or represent real things has held me back. The great thing is that I have mastered confidence and assuredness with materials over time.

In a sense, I have self-educated by setting up a rigorous work regime with projects and deadlines and along the way amazingly sold many of my paintings to a whole range of different people.
It is tremendously encouraging.

As if in education, the time to move on is accompanied by a need to research. The resources available to me are fantastic. Documentaries and interviews discussing a wide range of long-standing and accomplished artists talking about their process have helped me form a foundation to begin to articulate my work.

Is every piece of work a self-portrait?

On a deep level, I think it is. It is difficult for any physical activity involving the use of a medium or translation into being from not being to related to the person that makes the mark. The inner life and external projection can be seen as one entity.

Abstract and Representation

With this understanding as a grounding, I am feeling growing confidence. To approach abstract work with an open mind and willingness not to become attached to stages in the process is a challenge. If I am painting a portrait, finishing the painting is dependent on the subject being reasonably represented. I am looking to approach this differently in my next project.

My most recent work has been Abstract Representation as although abstract in nature, the finished result reminds me of actual things or events. I realise how easy it is to become attached to habits and that these become a way of working. Dealing with abstraction is helping me reflect on this proclivity and transform my thinking.

Next on the list of projects is to paint a portrait for a sitter and paint an abstract version of the sitter at the same time. This is my way of working, to set a project, and through the doing of it, my understanding grows. At first, maybe it was pure luck, but now after a few years, I am confident that it is my way of getting somewhere.

Starting by making up a canvas, the relationship begins. Stretching and priming the canvas enables me to make the first brushstrokes before being faced with a blank space. With this void in my head, the hand and brush express my true self. To be honest, I wish this was always the case. I would be telling fibs if it was.

I make some marks, close the studio door behind me and then come back the next day and make some more. I can sit and look for a while or just start another piece. Some work is done in a few days, others will go through many iterations.

Finally, racks of works and different stages are building up. I feel so fortunate to be able to do this and not be attached to the linear timeline. This is challenged when I have a commission. Usually, there will be another piece on my second easel that I can stab at when the commission gets frustrating.

Creative work builds resilience, this leads to an ability to persevere. These are necessary attributes to lay the groundwork for sustainable art practice.

Many thanks

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  1. My spouse and I stumbled over here by a different web page and thought
    I should check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you.

    Look forward to exploring your web page repeatedly.

    1. Thanks for the kind comment. I have been restructuring my studio in the last month and hope to start a new stream of content soon.

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