I seem once again to be crossing many different ideas and media with my work. Lately I have been struggling to finish my paintings. I sometimes take forever to decide if I am happy with the image that appears on the canvas or paper. As I look around my studio now, I see so many paintings in that 3/4 mode. I have a couple of shows coming up and a few commissions, plus a few shops wanting new pieces to sell. So I have a lot going on, but it feels a bit like a bric and brac shop in my space right now. And I feel a little like I could fall into that ‘paint and repeat’ mode because of demand. Demand is a nice place to be, don’t get me wrong, it makes you accountable and we live in a world where being accountable to others is important. But I don’t want to have a cookie cutter scenario going on here.
People often say to me how prolific I am. Honestly, I am always amazed to think they think that. I might appear to have plenty going on in what I post on Instagram and Flickr but the reality is I feel like a turtle… I’ve always been a plodder, happy to go at my own pace. Perhaps prolific in experimentation, but not so much on the business end.
I choose to paint for the love of exploration and interpretation not to make a quick dollar nor to grab some kind of social media success. There are many opportunities for me to keep painting works and passing them onto retailers and galleries, but sometimes I feel that it all becomes a little too forced and that leaves me with thinking, ‘what is the value of my artwork?’ Not the monetary value, the deeper meaning value? Why am I doing this? What does it mean to be an artist?
At the end of my career I want to be able to look back and say, “I chose to be an artist to express and explore ideas using a range of materials. Not only to make something appealing, but to make others think about how an artwork can emotionally connect with them.’
I feel challenged by what I do right now and this has lead me to a great deal of experimentation. The idea of translating my marks in other ways has been keeping me busy. I’ve been machine and hand sewing, painting onto a range of fabrics, I’ve been smashing and manipulating metal, creating with polymer clay, drilling and engraving into paper and wood, weaving threads and found objects from my garden, making artist’s books and much more. None of it has come to a point where I feel like I’ve reached an end or resolved what is in my mind. My journey as an artist will continue on in this way forever I hope.
I do think that by making a decision to not pump out similar works all the time, I will be far happier in the long run. Filmmaker, Woody Allen, said ‘I am always disappointed – there is always a big difference in what one sets out to make and what one ends up with. What you set out to make is in your mind… in fantasy, it is what exists on paper.”
Below are a few photos of some of my experimentations: