I’ve been busy! Really busy! Since my last exhibition at Denbies I’ve been immersed in a wonderful, challenging and transformative artist’s mentoring programme called Creative Visionary Path. After nearly three months, I am finally nearing the end (which is actually really only the beginning!) and it’s thrown me on a creative trajectory I wouldn’t have been able to predict.
For one thing, CVP required the use of acrylics which meant a change of medium from my beloved watercolours, at least temporarily. I did wonder how on earth I could give up all that transparent, watery (and easy to clean up!) loveliness for the messy gloop of acrylic! But something told me it was going to be worth it.
Why acrylic? Well, at the core of this programme is the intention to create authentic, personal, unique work....
In order to achieve that, you have to dig deep, allow yourself to play freely (harder than it seems when you’re not four years old!) and take risks maybe doing something you’ve not done before - this is intuitive painting. (In fact, when I was painting my abstract watercolours, I also painted intuitively in large part. But there came a point where I had to stop and accept that the painting was finished because it couldn’t be radically altered.)
And it is the nature of risks that they don’t always pay off. Maybe one out of very many will yield something sublime. Quite a few are downright ugly! And this is where acrylic is able to do what watercolour cannot - you can keep on painting over the bits that don’t work until you have discerned which of your risks have been worth it. It also dries a lot quicker than oil so there’s a practical element here too.
Someone asked me recently how I decide on a title for my paintings so I thought it might be good to share it here.
Here are three recently sold paintings and their titles: From left to right we have: Nebulous Ceremony, Parable of Two Colours, Exhalation in Blue Minor.
When working on a body of work, I keep a small notebook of words that FEEL right, not necessarily for specific paintings yet but for the whole body of work. I emphasise the word FEEL because I try to hush the analytical brain as much as possible. It’s intuitive and I don’t want to second guess it with analysis. Then, once the paintings are finished I look through the notebook and pick words that FEEL right for that particular painting. Sometimes I turn it into a phrase. Some painting titles just jump out at me immediately (Parable of Two Colours 🤷♀️) whereas some take a bit longer because nothing fits yet.
And that’s it! Once a title sticks I don’t dwell on it, it’s done and that’s that.