The act of self portraiture

It’s been so long since I put brush to canvas but the opportunity to exhibit at Inkwell came up and I only had three days to get something done. It’s felt like a hard time of late, much angst, self reflection and self doubt, probably all linked to starting my new job (although I do love it).

The last piece I painted ‘Javanese Cloth’ was on show at the International Womens Day Exhibition and was something I felt relatively comfortable creating despite feeling so rusty. All in all I was pleased with the results and since the piece has now sold and it gained many admirers, it can’t have been bad. For me, in my own heart, I knew I hadn’t really pushed myself. I knew I had chosen an easy option.

This time I wanted a challenge. An idea left over from the Place and memory project was the desire to start a series of portraits. I never paint faces so I knew this could be something I could get my teeth into. As I ripped off the clear plastic covering to my new primed canvas I was excited but nervous to try practice my skills again.

I decided to paint myself, not in a narcissistic way but as an experiment of the actual process, but also to push myself out of my comfort zone artistically.

rivers run deepRivers Run Deep
Acrylic on canvas 2014

The Process

It was a very interesting experiment and one I may want to return to again. The act of painting myself was both painful and cathartic. I am a person who doesn’t like themselves much but as an artist I decorate, embellish and beautify my work with painstaking detail. So the process of spending so much time on ‘myself’ was very odd and felt uncomfortable. My emotions were all over the place as I self analysed, self loathed and questioned every mark or brush stroke. I wanted to destroy and deface what was in front of me, however, my creative side wanted aesthetics and balance and my decorative style was itching to come and play. The two contradictory parts of my persona battled the whole way through this process.
Destroy, hate, ugly. Love, nurture, beautify.

I decided to call the piece “Rivers Run Deep” as I understand the way I am: my vulnerabilities, my faults, my insecurities, are not easily changed. We can all try our best to put on our masks but our emotions are strong and run to the core of who we are. Our rivers run deep.

 

 

Abstract – Experiments in Constructivism

Etude no1 feat Im

My latest work has been so very different to my usual approach to painting. After such a long break away from it it seemed natural to move to new ground rather than attempt to resurface in the same soil. I had been looking at Constructivism, particularly British Constructivist painters like Victor Pasmore and Kenneth
Martin.

My first attempt at putting paint to canvas was a study of shape, complimentary colour and third sectioning. ‘Etude’ french meaning study was usually referring to a musical composition designed for practice and not for public performance. This piece is part of an annual exhibition currently on show at Inkwell.

Painting:
Etude #1
Acrylic on canvas. 90 x90 cm

Tree of Life

I can’t believe I didn’t find time to post in my three weeks holiday but Christmas and New Year is always such a busy time of year for everyone, always so much to plan and do!

In my break away from work it gave me time to think about new ideas and designs. During December, a friend wanted me to make another tree of life necklace for her and it got me thinking that all of my tree of life designs have been popular. Was it time to do a whole collection of Trees of Life?

The tree of life is such a well-known and well-loved symbol that spans many religions, beliefs and philosophies. It alludes to the interconnection of all life on our planet and is often seen as a symbol of immortality or fertility.

As a fairly spiritual person but also a scientist I love the tree of life symbol for two reasons. From a scientific point of view, and this is reflected a lot in my artwork, the tree of life depicts a whole eco-system, the world is indeed connected by symbiotic relationships and a natural hierarchy, we all need each other to live and survive.

This was the basis of one of my recent paintings. The tiny circles delineating the microscopic life, in their millions, found in and amongst each leaf and branch.

 

Tree of Life – acrylic on canvas

So, it seemed natural to create a whole new collection of jewellery pieces on what was a popular conception but also something so dear to my heart.

Here was the first tree of life pendant I created, using Amazonite I filled the branches full so the tree was bursting with life.

 Amazonite Tree of Life

Then my designs got more elaborate…..

Finally, my latest piece symbolises our whole planet – Earth who is represented by the beautiful dark Blue Agate focal stone. The colourings which range from browns and rusts to mossy greens and Turquoise looks just like our beautiful planet as seen from the sky. Earth is surrounded by branches and roots that illustrate the abundance of life.

‘Mother Earth’ Agate and Amazonite copper necklace

I have realy enjoyed working on these piecses and i think a few more will be made before I feel i have completed my journey with this. If you would like to see more of my paintings, many of which are trees you can view the gallery here.

More Abstract Work

the-rise-of-the-lemmings

It’s been a rather productive few days for me which I have to say makes a really pleasant change. I feel really elevated that I managed to finish two pieces in just four days. Oh I do love working this way, intense hours and little sleep, but it is so worth it! I just don’t find anything else as therapeutic or calming as painting. Why don’t I just do it more often? I know how good it makes me feel.

After concentrating on such structured and detailed work for a while, I was finding it really hard to just let go, paint, and not worry about what exactly I was painting! This new abstract style is certainly challenging for me.

I have been wanting to have a go at a Jackson Pollock inspired piece for ages and after managing to get myself a new canvas I finally got round to attempting it. I have had a poster of one of his works on my kitchen wall for years. It’s probably one of the only bought pieces of artwork that’s in my whole flat. That sounds really bad, but believe me when you are a painter, wall space becomes very precious! I was interested in how Pollock made his marks, the control and spontaneity, and anyway, it looked like it could be fun trying.

Well, it went drastically wrong, as usual I dived straight in without planning what I was going to do first….so….I had to just keep going. There was no way I was going to let this one escape! The resulting painting is probably my strangest piece of work to date. It’s very different to anything I have painted before but there was something odd and quirky about it that I quite liked.

 

You can visit my Gallery to view more of my artwork

 

The Rise of The Lemmings

Mixed media painting