TYB – A Twist in the Plot

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.

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