I have mentioned in a previous post the ease with which I have found this project. For the last few weeks I have been reflecting long and hard over my research question, viewing its resolution as the key to my way forward. But what if it isn’t? What if it is only a small step or even a sign post?
Looking back over my reading list for this period, selected at random, or maybe not:
How to Be an Artist – Michael Atavar
Think Like an Artist – Will Gompertz
Dunk Tank Pink – Adam Alter
The Tao of Pooh & Te of Piglet – Benjamin Hoff
The Four Purposes of Life – Dan Millman
Art & Fear – David Bayles & Ted Orland
All are addressing the inner artist, the confidence, the angst. All were read with a view to illuminating my way forward and the nature of my research question. There has not been a eureka moment, but what there has been is a realisation that I am ok, that the process is working, that I am a normal artist. What it has also achieved is the fact that I can step aside from the research into self, and look objectively at my chosen world.
I went back to the drawing board and revisited my last essay, Being Authentic, which concluded ‘..that authentic paintings are rooted in the tactile practice of ‘real drawing’; That tough contemporary work can only be achieved by a ‘suspension of common sense’.. Time to build on that work.
This new perspective has brought a surprising twist. For reasons I don’t fully understand, even after reflection, the Testing Your Boundaries project, hasn’t tested me. This could be experience of exhibiting, it could be because it is a joyful task, with a colourful outcome, suffice to say that I have decided to continue to TYB through my research.
I had assumed I would focus on florals and have plans to spend some time photographing and drawing in a house plant nursery. I will still pursue this project as part of my joint exhibition in June, but for my MA I have decided to build on my assessment work from last year and paint from historic photographs. This will be challenging work. I am not a natural portrait/figure painter and my existing ‘style’ is not suited to this type of work. There is no time for ‘relaxing’, no room for mistakes. It feels a bit like contemplating walking a tightrope, and is therefore sufficiently challenging. There will certainly be ‘suspension of common sense’, and the work will certainly be tactile.
Two artists stand out, Marlene Dumas and Celia Paul, and I am sure there will be others, as I focus my research. If I am stubbornly going to nail my colour’s to the watercolour mast, I also need to be able to articulate on watercolour’s context in the art world, its history and people’s perception of the medium. I won’t get another opportunity to do this.
Having made my decision I was able to sleep last night, the first time for many.