My heart in a vase
Something exciting. has happened. You all know I've been making art for a long time. I feel like I've been painting from the heart because I enjoy it so much. But whilst doing an online programme recently, I've started to realise that what I've been enjoying is making things that look like something that already exists. I've always tried to capture the feeling I had in a particular place or situation but I've still tended to work from photos or from life, never purely from my heart. I've always been a little bit in awe of people who can just 'make something up' when they're drawing. In my work as a creative mentor with children, I often find myself saying "Gosh, I wish I could just draw from my memory like that". The children tend to look a bit confused in response. They don't really know what I mean because they are still allowing themselves to just draw or paint what comes from their hand in response to an idea they have in their head. They do it without fear of whether it will be lifelike or whether others will appreciate it. In my experience, for most people this ability seems to start to disappear around the age of 12, as the importance of what the outside world thinks become more and more important. I've been trying hard to keep that alive for the youngsters I work with but have now started to realise I can bring it back to life for myself too. Its something I've known, in theory I needed to do for a long time but this is the first time I've really got it. It's not just about losing inhibitions, it's about also letting myself be me.
So, I present to you this little series of paintings that are the beginning of something new for me. My focus in making them was about what felt good for me. I started with "Is somebody getting married?" (so-called purely because a follower on social media asked me if they represented a bride and groom) which you can probably see is a more careful representation of two vases of flowers, although they existed only in my head. I wasn't looking at real flowers or photos as I painted. I don't even know if there are flowers out there that look like these.
I was using a sheet of acetate as a mixing palette and when I finished painting I blotted the sheet with a fresh piece of paper. I loved the marks made by the paint when I pulled the paper and acetate apart so worked on top of that adding more colour and detail until I was happy with the composition. Once happy with that one, I went through the same process with another, and another. A final attempt didn't really work out and went in the bin. My approach had been free and playful and I wasn't painting for any purpose other than fun. When I returned to them the next day, I realised how much I loved them. They were exciting and expressive. They were a little bit of my heart and soul. I added some more playful marks on top using acrylic pens, to enhance and contrast against what was already there. I loved them so much I framed them! I even let myself choose my favourite frame without worrying about trends. They are the ones that felt most like me and most like these paintings. And here they are. They are coming with me to the Makers Market in Blaby tomorrow (March 12th) where I'll be proudly sharing them and hopefully selling them, knowing that even if they are not to everyone's taste, they are to mine and that's what my art needs to be.
I'd love to hear from you if you've got examples of paintings you've made or bought that are a little bit of your (or the artist's) soul. Its a magical journey and it fascinates me more and more at each stage.