Where to begin? What a couple of months this has been, and how my work has been so greatly affected by the environmental and human impacts of what is going on around every single one of us.
The start of the year saw 'wedmin' (wedding admin) take over my artwork. It swamped my everyday life and meant my time in the studio became limited. I craved being in the studio, but when I was in there I didn’t have the time or energy to get stuck into a whole new body of work. If I’m honest I did feel a lack of focus. I knew I wanted to work on my next series of work but didn’t know where to start, or what I could even paint.
In my mind, I knew as soon as I returned from my honeymoon I’d be straight back in the studio. I’d fill my days letting the inspiration spill out of me and soak up those sunny evenings painting (whilst my new husband chilled the wine and made me dinner at home, obviously).
However, things changed. Our wedding is postponed until next year and I realised I would now have the time and energy to focus purely on my art.
After a month of working from home, we found a safe way for me to return to the studio.
I had tried to paint at home but I’d had this inner anger, and making a huge angry mess wasn’t an option at home. Every piece I’d worked on in my own garden, or in my study, felt limited like I wasn’t being completely true to myself. I was playing things safe. So on my return to the studio, I had this urge to go a bit mental with the paint.
It probably sounds daft, but I had this inner hurt and the only way I knew how to deal with it was to just go a bit crazy. I laid out 4 large pieces of watercolour paper and threw everything at it. I used emulsion, acrylics, pastels, pencils and pen. There was no logic to it and there was no plan involved. It felt like the only thing I needed to do.
Once these emotions were out I felt a lot better. I think it was the sadness at having to cancel our wedding, the frustration of ‘why is this happening?!’ and the overall uncertainty and sadness at the global pandemic that had suddenly landed on us, without an end date.
A week into being back in the studio and I began to notice a story of two halves in my work.
One half was purely emotive, a series of paintings that felt so expressive, vivid and full of emotion but lacked balance or composition.
On the other side, I had a series of paintings that were very obviously landscapes. These paintings lacked emotion and bordered on being far too safe, yet I couldn’t bring myself to work into them. I was scared I’d mess them up, yet I knew they weren’t finished.
At the same time, I had an eagerness to produce a body of work that I wanted to desperately share with my galleries, but I had nothing except a lot of weird emotion and pressure that I’d put on myself.
This was a very uncertain time. It’s weird to say but it felt like I was trying to overcome something, yet I didn’t know what. It’s hard to describe.
I took comfort in talking to a few other artists, and sure enough, the general consensus was that at some point these two concepts within my paintings would at some point come together.
Looking back it’s clear now that I was overcoming my own thoughts and ideas of what my art is (deep I know….sorry).
When I started really pushing my artwork 3 years ago my practice was very safe, very loose and abstract, but safe. I used soft palettes and worked in a smaller way, focusing on sections of the canvas, rather than the whole thing.
Naturally, my work progressed, my confidence grew, my colours got bolder and my paintings gradually took a more obvious landscape form.
I then found that I was approached by a gallery I really admired, I was selected for ‘The Other Art Fair’, Manchester Art Fair and various other events that meant so much to me. 2018 was such an exciting year work-wise.
So obviously in my head, I made the mad link that the more landscape a piece of my work was, the better it was. It was like a light bulb coming on. I thought I should be producing these more obvious landscapes, whilst my hand, heart and brush didn’t want to do that.
Don’t get me wrong, it took a good week of messy confusion to get to that conclusion, but it felt AMAZING when finally the two concepts married together.
I had a dream (again, I haven’t gone mad I promise) that I needed to paint over a whole painting in a deep purple. The next day I did this. I don’t know why I just thought why not?! That was the turning point for me.
The emotion when a painting really talks to you is one I would sound crazy describing. When you get completely lost in a painting you know it’s going to be a good one, and that’s what happened with this painting.
I didn’t come up for air whilst painting this, and then when I stepped away from it for the final time I knew it was complete. I felt exhausted, exhilarated and really quite emotional.
Something had clicked which then lead to the body of work that I am now in the midst of. I feel like I’m on a roll at the moment.
I really feel there has been a change in my work. It feels much more expressive, dramatic and energetic, yet still has the feel of a loose landscape. My colours are stronger and richer in tone, adding to the drama of these latest pieces.
All I know is it feels amazing to be back in the studio and I am looking forward to sharing this next body of work with you all ASAP.