Early morning musings

I’m full of ideas again (still?). Tiring myself out with it all (but in a good way, surely?) and at the same time can’t sleep because there’s so much to do!

(Well, truth be told, I went to bed at 7pm because I was so worn out and have woken up at 4.30am – much to Maggie’s annoyance. I suppose I’ve had enough sleep really. Not the lie in I was aiming for though… )

Anyway, here I am in the middle of the night, propped up on Big Ted, thinking arty thoughts.

To frame or not to frame? (Probable future blog post title)

How do I want my website to look?

When do I include a ‘shop’ section?

Ring the framers at 11am.

What is my end goal?

What is my current goal?

Don’t forget to plan an exhibition.

Am I creating content I want to create or am I creating what I think other people want to see?

Am I doing both? It’s early days yet so probably difficult to tell at the moment.

I want (need, really, if I’m going to maintain my own level of interest) to stay true to myself and my ideas. I’m not a world famous artist (yet!), I’m learning the ropes with regards to websites, blogs, marketing etc, I’m fitting this in around a full time job plus other general life commitments.

I don’t know what people want to see. Maybe they don’t want to see anything! The plan is to create content that I enjoy and am happy/proud to put my name to. Law of averages means someone else out there in the Big Wide World will enjoy it too.

I intend to continue on my little self-initiated journey, doing what feels good and what feels right; documenting it as I go. There’s really not much more to it. The whole reason behind the name ‘art and sensibility’ is I really tap into all of my senses and that’s where I draw (excuse the pun) my inspiration from.

Ooh, speaking of authenticity, I must create some certificates to go with my artwork. *adds to mental to-do list*

Right, now I’ve rambled on and got that out of my head, I wonder if I can get back to sleep for a bit…

#tbt Let’s go back….to Milo and my first attempt at oils

Here we have my first throwback post to my non-abstract work!

Introducing Milo the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and my first try using oil paints  🙂

I’d always used watercolours or acrylics up to this point but felt the urge to branch out and give these a go. Working full time means I rarely get chance to spend hours and hours in front of a painting uninterrupted, and often ends with paint going to waste after being abandoned for a few hours or days means it’s dried out on my palette.

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I figured it was time to take the plunge, try oils, and allow myself longer time between sittings without losing the colours I was working with.

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I opted for water mixable Winsor & Newton oils, as I don’t like handling white spirits plus I don’t have a huge amount of space for ventilation.

(I love how he’s starting to appear!)

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I was surprised how easily I took to them, to be honest. I think I’d built them up to be this difficult medium to master but in reality they’re great to use. The colours are so rich and glossy; really satisfying to apply.

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Saying that though, I found the white to fade as it dried, so I was conscious of needing to use this piece as a bit of a trial run to see how the different colours stood the test of time before completing any commissions with them.

(Look at those ears! Beautiful little dog 🙂 )

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By this point, I’d spent about 4 hours applying the paint (i’d had the canvas primed and drawn out already) and I was amazed I had pretty much a finished piece. They are so much faster to use than acrylics!

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I started adding a little more detail around his left eye, changed the background colour as the pink clashed with his colouring, then I believe that is where I left it.

This is how he’s looked since November 2013:

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Looking back (over my shoulder)

According to wikipedia, “Over My Shoulder” is a pop rock song by British supergroup Mike + The Mechanics. It was released on 13 February 1995 as the first single from their album Beggar on a Beach of Gold. Sung by Paul Carrack, it was the…

Just kidding! I’m not really going to write about that. Although it is stuck in my head now, so that’s fun.

As I mentioned in my post When you know, you know, I admit to having a perfectionist streak, which can be great but also very annoying!

Until January 2017, on the rare occasions I’d attempted abstract art, I would fail miserably. I could never loosen up enough and found myself ‘tidying up’ whatever I was attempting, until in the end I’d become so frustrated that it didn’t fit into really any category – abstract or otherwise – that I’d abandon it completely. Then I’d confirm to myself what I’d said all along: ‘I can’t do abstract stuff. I’m too much of a perfectionist. I’ve got no imagination’ etc, all kinds of things to excuse the fact that actually I just wasn’t allowing myself to mess things up.

I became known among family/friends/peers as someone who was very good at art; my paintings or drawings were realistic, life-like, photographic, traditional…all kinds of good stuff that I took a lot of pride in (and still do, actually). People would commission me to do a family or pet portrait, or something where they were expecting a likeness akin to my previous work and its accurate portrayal of subject matter. This was great and incredibly flattering, BUT also very limiting and constraining for me as an artist, although its only recently that I’ve realised that’s how I felt. I got to the point where I would turn down commissions because I knew I wouldn’t enjoy it. My lifelong joy had become a chore. (sob)

Without going into too much detail, as I’m sure i’ll expand on it another time, I’m learning to put my own creative needs first, regardless of what other people like, dislike, or expect of me. My passion has been reignited (woohoo! 🙂 ). Right now I’m getting a huge amount of enjoyment from abstract, but that’s not to say I’ll never return to realism or perhaps some kind of hybrid of the two.

I am still very proud of the work I’ve done in the past, and look back on it all with fondness and satisfaction. I’ve decided, therefore, to do some ‘throwback Thursday’ (#tbt for the cool kids ha) blog posts to celebrate my older work. I’ll post some of the quick snaps I took on my phone as each piece evolved, plus probably a little background of what the occasion was.

So there you go! I hope you’ll enjoy looking at them as much as I do… Feel free to let me know what you think 🙂

(and for those of you who wouldn’t mind a blast from the past, click here for the song in all its glory!)

When you know, you know

When people see my abstract paintings, one of the common questions they ask is ‘how do you know what you’re going to do?’, and all I can say is ‘I don’t!’

I look at other paintings, pieces of art, the world around me in general, and I am always seeing compositions or juxtapositions that ‘work’ in my mind. Sometimes I’ll take a screenshot or a photo of it thinking I can refer back to it as a source of inspiration when I do my next painting, but invariably I never do. I wonder if the shapes and images I admire do leave an impression in my mind though and subconsciously I might draw on them (excuse the pun) for ideas… I can understand if somebody viewing my finished paintings might find it difficult to comprehend how I even know where to start: what colours to use, what random shapes or marks to make, when to declare it ‘finished’. IMG_6342


All I can say is, for me, it’s like a sixth sense. I’m embracing my intuition in all manner of ways across all aspects of my life – but particularly in my art this year. I can literally be sat in front of a blank canvas with no idea in my head of what I want to see on it. I’m enjoying the trial and error, because it goes hand in hand with a journey of discovery, and THAT is what I really enjoy.

I’ve gone from being a life-long perfectionist in practically everything I dare put my name to, to pushing myself beyond my comfort zones and realising that THAT’S where the real perfection is! It is the most liberating process, and one that spills over into the rest of my life, allowing me to enjoy the invariable ups and downs that come my way, because I have faith in my intuition. If I’m working on a piece of art and think it’s looking a bit messy or I’ve perhaps ‘lost’ the good parts that had appeared, I trust the process and keep going. It might be that it’s gone too far to bring back and I’ll be as well to paint over it and ‘start again’, but that in itself is fine because the history of the previous layers are what will end up making the finished piece a success.

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As for colours – I look in my tub of paints and choose the one(s) that stand out to me at that particular time.

Shapes and lines – I can scribble randomly, use my dominant or non-dominant hand, shut my eyes, turn the page or canvas round at random intervals before continuing.

If I see a part that I like, I might pay a bit more attention to it to emphasise it with colours or texture.

I love the layers. I love to look at a picture time and time again and see something new each time. If I have a part of the painting that I really like and don’t want to lose to more layers, I might cover it in a translucent texture medium to ‘preserve’ it a little whilst still being able to build up the rest of the piece around it.IMG_6351


And finally (although I could go on and on), to reach the elusive finish line, I need to look at the painting and ‘feel’ that it is balanced. Once it is balanced, to me, it is finished. I don’t mean balanced in terms of the use of symmetry; it is probably the hardest thing for me to explain actually. Perhaps this is my seventh sense?!

Once I feel (and it is almost a tangible feeling, as opposed to a thought) that the composition as a whole is balanced, (whether that is busy space vs empty space, curves vs geometric lines, colours, textures, really anything and everything), then I feel happy to step back and move on to a new one.

Occasionally I leave it for a while, not fully confident that I’m happy with it. I might go back and work on it a bit more at a later date with fresh eyes, and sometimes it can completely change or other times it can be a small addition of a few smudges or lines here and there.IMG_6354


I’m starting to post more images of the works in progress as I find the various stages of a painting as interesting and enjoyable (if not more so) than the final piece.

Reading back through this post, I think it sounds suitably vague and therefore accurately describes my thought processes through the evolution of my work!

 

Is there such a thing

as too many ideas?!

I have an absurd number of ideas coming to me at the moment, spanning pretty much every aspect of my life. Ideas around tasks I’m involved with at work; ideas around my fitness, and working to bring my training back up to where it was; ideas of ‘secret work’ (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-accidental-creative/id93424211?mt=2&i=1000395029220) that I want to open myself up to. Hands down, the most exciting ideas of them all are the ones relating to my art. I’m buzzing with motivation and enthusiasm! My ideas are literally going between me and my sleep, and when they’re not, I’m dreaming about them. I wake up full of visions from my dreams but have to shelve them while I go to work. Funnily enough, I think one of the biggest repercussions so far from all this excitement is a big lesson in patience and self control 😫 “my job is my patron!” (Repeat as required).

I want to empty my head of all the visions and feelings and curiosities that are filling it. Not so I can be free of it – not at all – but so I can embrace it and explore the new directions it may lead me in. To be all-consumed by something that sets your senses on fire: I’d say it’s definitely a blessing and a curse. I wouldn’t want to be without it though! The excitement at what my future holds outweighs all the frustrations I might feel along the way. I can’t wait to see what comes next!