Seven weeks ago I thought I was going to have to call in past commissions and sold paintings to help make up the numbers for the exhibition at the Castle. The Willoughby Gallery is a large space with lovely white walls and huge windows, but for the meantime this was just the back up plan. I had to see how the next few weeks panned out.
I never saw myself as the temperamental artist, but the strong focus distorted my usual day to day life as the guilt of not pulling my weight at home against the pressure of time and sorting the tangle in my brain took over. However what did really work for me was having the new fresh uncomplicated space at the barn studio. It is impressively lofty and incredibly peaceful, so when there I could entirely focus on the job in hand.
Another dilema.. this isn’t supposed to be a job. I didn’t want to paint to please the public, but remain true to myself and paint what I felt but as someone pointed out, it’s a vocation and Graeme letting me use the space has helped me fulfill this and I DO KNOW how lucky I am. This deliberate stance to paint what I felt mattered to me at that moment meant there were lots of varied styles as well as different surfaces, sizes and framing and this all sort of came back and bit me on the bum when it came to hanging, but after four solo shows I’m getting the hang of it now.
What some might call pressure I think I might call, shutting off the world for moments; letting others take responsibility and allowing myself the time to really focus the ideas; work out solutions and let new ideas breath and develop. And boy did they come! I have to say at this stage that my husband might not agree with this as I certainly put a ‘load’ on him, but it needed to be. I now understand the solitude of art practice and how the creative mind is so underused but also so vast if it’s allowed to breath. It really felt like it was 75% of my brain in a very physical way.
It was still very important to me to get the full experience from my surroundings, so I was up some days with first light and out with the ink sketches which enables me to lose the unnecessary, but focus on the important structure of the painting and sift through the finer detail. Having the ideas, I needed the studio space to work how ways of how to express what I saw and felt and each piece required a different approach for me which kept it fresh, lively and exciting. I used oil on board, acrylic like watercolour mixed with inks on canvas, bright flourescents, lots of different mediums, sprays, rollers, sponges, and of course my hands.
The resulting exhibition was made up of over 20 originals, some ink sketches and a selection of my art prints.
Read more about this in following posts to come. Purposely omitted any pictures here. The words were too important.