Art inspiration sometimes dries up. It’s a common dilemma that plagues every creative person. To encounter a creative block is to face yet more anguish and self-analysis on top of the self-doubt, scepticism and uncertainty that seem to accompany the state of being an artist! Look no more blood left!
When these states strike I just keep going, make marks, attack a white expanse and see what happens. Surprising (in a good and bad way!) things happen. I persist with a willingness to play within new boundaries.
I am in an arid land! No ideas that readily jump forth. However, in a fit of frustration I drew an outline of my right foot, filled it in with gold and laughed at myself! I then looked at some words that I store for future use and wrote them on the plywood next to the foot.
An idea is born and it seems to suggest a path to follow (in the footsteps of the golden?). Where will it end? I will add marks, erase marks, add words maybe until something grows. This process can take hours or even months and at the end of it all, something one loves or is embarrassed by . . .
I will take photographs as this process unfurls and see where it goes.
Gold Foot Powder (working title)
Oil Paintstick & Pencil on Plywood
50 x 50 cm | 10 August 2018
I have created 2 new designs for the A3 poster for the Scottish Mental Health Art Festival exhibition to be shown in Summerhall, Edinburgh later this year.
These two new draft versions were created with the Risograph printing process at Out of the Blueprint, Edinburgh in mind.
The red one is the final version that will be used after some work on the type. Oh, the tree needs to be beefed up too.
Leonardo da Vinci declared, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
I’m not sure about that but I do know that I struggle and agonize over some pieces of work and return to them sometimes several years after they were once declared finished. Most of the time my sense of completion is a purely intuitive one. I just instinctively know that it is finished and sign it off and never touch it again.
Nearly all of my paintings start with a colour, mark or line and develop from there. There is a process of adding and removing, applying and covering until a concept, composition or idea emerges, evolves and becomes complete. All well and good until doubt creeps in. The doubt may be may be rooted in a lack of self-confidence, the ability to see with objectivity, or the alluring idea that something more might make the painting better.
I finished the picture on the left in November 2017, named it Lost A Big Shoe Birdman! and showed it in my exhibition Exit From Coaltown at Summerhall, Edinburgh (November 2017 - January 2018).
However, I recently began to see it in a different light. I removed the title, the egg and added more phrases, words and marks and now, it seems to be truly finished and to me, to have a better balance and meaning, even if that meaning is quite personal.