Where Now?

This evening we are critiquing half the cohort’s work, an interesting challenge, particularly as we are all different disciplines.

The exercise in selecting work to be critiqued has forced me to reflect on where I am with my work.  My confidence as a painter is a casualty.  I still feel I am in no-mans land, with no clear direction.  I find myself meandering through the research, but having the attention span of a butterfly, (the history and application within art I researched, thinking this may be my unconscious mind pointing me to a subject matter, fascinating, may explore further).  All of which is a great and justifiable reason for not actually focusing on my painting, but I suspect is a delaying tactic for what is proving to be like grappling with a phantom.

The fact that this is proving so challenging, could, if this is resistance, be meaning that I am rowing ‘upstream’ and need to raise the oars, and let go, allowing due process to run it’s course.

At the moment I have 20+ works on the go and 20+ different directions, flitting back and forth in a state of near panic.  The nature of working with watercolour doesn’t help, requiring either multiple pieces due to drying time, artificial drying together with the implications for the work, or lengthy pauses between activity.

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Former style, detailed, expressionist, floral, 38 x 38cms on paper

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A current theme of doors, windows and spaces, 18 x 18 cms on paper

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Behind Closed Doors, 38 x 38cms, on paper

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Torn watercolour paper on canvas, 50 x 50cms

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Torn watercolour paper on canvas, 50 x 50cms

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30 x 30 cms on Khadi paper

Experimental watercolour on charcoal and chalk, all 56 x 56cms on paper. Yellow is the colour of identity.  I have been researching colour history and the work of Korean artist, Hyunmee Lee. Her bold use of colour blocks and fine lines reflects the thoughts of Roy Oxlade, whose approach to subject I am keen to explore, but don’t yet fully understand.

If the legs on the child in the first image had been less defined, I would have been happiest with the immediacy of this version.  The subsequent two images feel laboured and contrived.

Hyunmee Lee – Sensation 6, acrylic on canvas 72 x 96 inches  http://lowegallery.com/artists/hyunmee-lee/art/37-over.jpg

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Watercolour and chalk on paper, 56 x 56 cms

I have also been researching the collages of Lee Krasner.  Her bold graphical abstract distillation of, what could be, foliage, provides me with a possible direction for large loose floral interpretations.  I feel a need to explore through drawing, the simplification of subject.

The Seasons, 1957, Witney Museum, New York 1600 x 736 cms

Next week I will be talking to a former MA student who I believe had similar issues with her work.  It will be interesting to see how she worked through or overcame them.

Reflecting through the process of writing is helping me to clarify what I enjoy doing, the scale, the colours, the marks, the preparation or not, and as Annabel Dover said during my tutorial, it is ok to explore a range of subject matter, materials and approaches as long as it feels right.

Still no work produced, but I feel I may have made some progress.

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