I start my paintings by decluttering my mind of any thoughts that are taking up space and steering me away from the present moment. On my substrate I write words and sometimes full sentences describing my feelings in order to let go of the mental chatter. It all gets written with water soluble graphite, water colour pencils and charcoal which perhaps it’s a good thing that it is impermanent as the mind tends to be in overdrive living in these challenging times.
I then apply a light wash of acrylic paint onto my surface using different tools. With no fixed idea in mind I experiment with tools that I either seldomly use or have never used. In the image below I am using a long handled brush that I got from the kitchen shop. Working with tools that I am not accustomed using allows me to loosen up and encourages spontaneous mark making and interesting random shapes and lines to appear. Also, it frees the mind from wanting to operate within its known parameters.
The middle stage
This stage is where most of the time is spent. If you are an artist reading this I’m sure you’d agree that we can spend hours toing and froing until we are satisfied. If you aren’t an artist, take my word for it! It’s the most challenging stage where hard decisions are made and the tough questions are posed. What’s working? What do I not need? What do I need? Is there anything I need to let go of in order to move this forward? Am I executing what I am wanting to say?
It is the stage where certainty is required.
Being more comfortable in this stage allows me to quickly identify when I am becoming too fixated on an idea. I notice there are times when I need to let the paint do its thing and times when I need to shake things up and take a risk. For example, the risk maybe to introduce a totally different colour or add a large shape and shift the focus to somewhere else in the painting.
At some stage throughout my process I take my paintings off my wall and work on them on the floor, therefore creating a new perspective which often leads to a great change.
It is not uncommon to mount the paintings back on the wall and continue working on them. As a matter of fact, I do this many times.
The final stage
In this stage I would make subtle adjustments to ensure that all parts of the painting are harmonious. I really enjoy this refining stage. It’s amazing how you can push a painting to completion just by a tiny adjustment.
Three of the paintings that I’m working on in these photos above are listed on my website for sale. Click here to see Shadow Dance, Lines of Transition and Shaken to Awaken. If you would like to receive a notification when the remaining paintings in this series are available please enter your details below.
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