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Intuitively Brave

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

During the latter part of 2022 I set myself a goal for January 2023, (and beyond).

To be brave, explore and relax as an artist.

As we are on the last day of January, I thought I'd show you the results so far!

Beginning with twenty minute studio warm-ups I decided to trust my knowledge and work with just two or three colours using a painting knife on some emulsion sample sheets from Crown Paints. The sheets provided me with a neutral background and smooth durable surface.

Over the course of the first week I let myself relax and play. I applied paint and marks with my eyes half closed and my shoulders free. I let intuition take over and these were the results.

I discovered I liked the application of paint this way. I loved the scratching out of random marks with a palette knife edge, and the randomness of spattering and drawing lines with charcoal and oil pastels. I was conscious of contrast, drama and the balance of colour, but in the rest I was intuitive and brave.

I still worked in layers, and it was in this that I found the most delight. Observing the effects of this over that and scratching out to see what lie beneath. Such a lot of fun!

But then I found myself clinging to old comforts too, like the use of metallics, mica flakes, and tree-like marks. I realised that I was falling back into the safety net and needed to break out.

I thought maybe I'd try a few larger works that were inspired by photos I had snapped on my phone whilst out walking.

I thought these were quite successful. I was consciously keeping loose and just working with colour and loose shapes. These were painted on Clairfontaine "PaintON" paper, in both natural and white sheets. I treated myself to some Caran D'ache Neocolour II watersoluable sticks to inspire me. The lines seem to be a new feature I wanted to continue.

But I needed to get back to more abstraction. I tried working on four little works at the same time. Then the moons came out!

These I enjoyed immensely. I restricted myself to two or three colours again and found some nice combinations. The first four paintings had trees, then my lovely friend, the artist Laura Beardsell-Moore , set me a challenge to keep the trees out of the composition, and the pinky mauve moonrise happened. This new step made me realise I had to think about how to keep interest in the foreground without the familiarity of my 'go-to' subjects. I felt liberated actually, and I went on to paint this little piece yesterday on a mid blue tinted sheet.

I really like this piece, and to me it signifies a turning point in my painting approach. Turning up in the studio to achieve my goal throughout January has been a wonderful depart from painting tightly with a gallery in mind. I am learning a lot and I am curious to see where this leads...

I shared my journey on Instagram, and I will continue to do so throughout February, so do come visit me there, as there are a few more paintings from this month to see!

My new journey is just beginning, and I am enjoying the process of making fresh art, the discoveries I am making about myself and the materials I use.

I should also mention that Louise Fletcher's free online course in January gave me some insight into how abstract artists work. Thank you Louise ♥

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