Crusade No 56 – I’m a believer

Michelle Ward, over at the GPP Street Team site, challenged us this month to talk about art, what it means to us and the place it has in our lives. This is something I have thought about a lot lately, as I struggled to create some new works. I have used the piece I completed this morning as the background for a digital work, as it represents an end to struggling (again). Thanks for the inspirations Michelle – you rock.

Remembering poppies – morning light

In the last couple of posts I have talked about the problems I was having getting some work completed for the Waverley Connections exhibition that opens this coming Friday night here in South Taranaki. My problem was trying too hard, ignoring my intuition – generally fussing and worrying instead of creating. This morning I grabbed a canvas, paints, wet wipes and went for it. I had in mind the early morning light in the Lazio region of Italy, and my memory of how the poppies appear quite randomly, wherever the earth has been disturbed. I’m much happier with this; it has the feel of light I was looking for, a sense of the poppies without being pedantic about how they really look, and a looseness that is much more my usual work. As always, the lesson is simple, but one I occasionally forget – each of us can only paint what is in us, any thing else simply doesn’t work.

A painterly war zone

I have two artworks to complete for the end of the month. Last weekend I realised I had already said what I was doing, which was not what I had in mind, so a quick change of process and I thought it would all be good. How wrong I was! I put the initial acrylic washes down and those went well. I selected some images for the first collage items and got out the soft gel medium like I always do. Tore out the first image, stuck it down and though “yep, perfect”. As it dried a medium-sized bubble appeared in the middle so I quickly soaked and scrapped it off again. I wasn’t prepared to have the same hassle again, as I had been thinking of quite big collage pieces which are harder to get bubble-free, so changed tactic slightly. More washes, some drawing with paint, and then smaller collage. Yep, not bad.

So this afternoon I added some more light washes and then decided to work over some of it with white, to partially obscure some of the work. Something I do all the time. So why did I grab the wrong tube of paint and end up using Iridescent White instead of Titanium White? So I grabbed a palette knife and scraped off the top layer then rubbed it back with some alcohol soaked cleaning cloths and took as much paint off as I could. Now I have this shiny sheen across the bottom left hand corner – which I loathe.

Why does this happen sometimes? I know the answer if I am honest with myself. I have got all hung up on who I am exhibiting with, and who is going to see the works, and have stopped trusting myself to just get on with it. Not the first time it has happened and won’t be the last I guess. In some ways I don’t mind that these two works will end up being multi-layered war zones because they reference the time we spent in Italy last year, visiting Monte Cassino and seeing first hand the impact WWII had for the people of the Cassino region. Perhaps these need to be a war zone, after all…

(edited an hour or so later) I am starting again. Tthe current canvas can go in the ‘to be worked over’ pile. I can’t be bothered fighting it right now 😉


Working back to front – a change of process

I have two works booked into a local show at the end of October, called Waverley Connections. It’s a group of local artists exhibiting for two days only at the Waverley Community Centre. Organisers are hoping it will become an annual event. Due to the way it’s been structured I’ve had to name and describe the works, including a little about the process, before I even start making them. This is totally the opposite to how I normally work. I usually just start making marks on the canvas and see what happens.

Over the last few days I have been running through what I want to do in my head, thinking about marks, colour and process. For some reason, before I got my paints out just now, I decided to re-visit what I’d written. Oops! What I was thinking of doing, and what I wrote some months back, are very different. So, I need to do some mental adjusting before I pick up the paint brushes. Oh well, a little bit of discipline won’t do me any harm…

I’ll leave you with two images – one is the kind of thing I was thinking of doing this afternoon, the other is more like what I said I’d be doing – see if you can spot the difference 😉

YouTube inspiration and the RWC

Today is wet, windy and miserable – and what’s even worse, Dan Carter is out of the RWC. What’s a girl to do? Watch some videos for inspiration of course. The first one I enjoyed was about using alcohol with acrylic paints.  The second video is about rubber stamps with encaustic. I haven’t tried either of these before; I’m tempted to try the alcohol thing, but rubber stamps with wax is interesting but I don’t need to start any new hobbies!  Enjoy these, and let’s hope the weather comes right, and that some poor rugby player doesn’t suffer too much for trying to be Dan’s replacement for the RWC!