What does my art represent?
My art reveals how I see things as I walk around in the physical world and absorb the things that inspire me. I am most often influenced by many of the great artists of the past. It’s possibly an overused word, but their mastery of the craft of interpreting and translating the world as they see it into lasting pieces of work is truly inspirational.
I truly enjoy taking inspiration from the time-tested masters’ skills and bringing them into the world in new, possibly more than the current mainstream vogue in contemporary art. This is not to say there isn’t an amazingly rich talent of contemporary artists – many of whom I’ve met through and been lucky enough to be taught by at London Fine Art Studios. Further blog posts will explore some their work and celebrate their skills.
Inspiration & Motivation
For me, disappearing into a dark studio and creating unique pieces of artwork is a way to escape. Inspiration and creativity regularly come and go, and it can be challenging, but I truly connect with the process and enjoy practicing the skills I’ve been fortunate to learn over the years – especially through the atelier schools and directly from other contemporary artists (some of whom have directly taught me) who work predominantly from life. I’m motivated to create work that I consider beautiful.
Outcomes aren’t always reliable, and my own expectations for my work do vary from day to day, but I rarely consider a work a failure because - as a wise person once said - one can never come away with less than one started with. Sometimes I’ll come back to a piece that I may have considered weak at the time, but after many months I will often see it in a new light and be enthused to work on it some more, or build something new with what I learned after some time to process, even if subconsciously.
I’m motivated to create work that feels authentic to myself and hopefully connects with other people. How others interpret my work is up to them: I do try not to direct viewers to feel or think a certain way. When looking at art, I think it’s crucial to focus solely on one’s own understanding - because everyone views it and appreciates it differently.
Art is often misunderstood to be something of a luxury – a non-essential work, if you will – but to exist in a world that didn’t support creative endeavours is unthinkable to me. Creativity and The Arts – whether painting, music, writing in any form, are a way of processing human experiences and connecting us. It helps me – and hopefully my audience - to ascribe some meaning to an otherwise often indescribable reality of feelings and emotions.
Faces are inexorably complicated and subtle and for me they represent the biggest technical challenge in painting. We are biologically tuned to notice the nuances of faces, often subconsciously, and so the effect of any inaccuracy - no matter how small - will be dramatic to the viewer. The creative possibilities with a portrait are endless.
As with faces, figures represent people. Not only are figures another huge technical challenge, but we are social animals, bound for connections with people. It therefore seems natural to me to spend a large portion of my practice on creatively representing people, exploring how their inner worlds might be represented physically, or how they might contradict expectations.
To me, landscapes are places of memories. They perhaps have an even more personal emotional connection for viewers than images of people. They are the locations of our biggest triumphs and failures, homes and holidays, and core memories of all kinds. I find it amazing that no matter how abstract a representation of a place can be in a painting, it can still trigger a remarkable emotional response. I expect this is common experience and is why art is so important to so many people.
Many people remark that a lot of my work isn’t obviously bright and colourful. This suggests a theme of melancholy throughout it. I can see this, however I have learned that the biggest driver of what makes something colourful is simply how light or dark it is. I teach foundation classes where I’m forever repeating the moniker that “values do all the work, and colour takes all the credit”. Often I find drawings (by their nature usually in black & white) - or paintings with a less chromatic palette - more subtle and more beautiful. That’s not to say there’s no space in my work for a bright fruit still life or some experimental flowers, bursting out of a canvas like fireworks. Some of my favourite artworks are bright and light, saturated with colour and fun.