Art is a Fickle Business

One minute you’re all set to race off in one direction then, something new shows up.  Don’t get me wrong though.  It’s is not a bad thing!

Limiting myself or my art to a particular style seems counter-productive. There”s way too much to do and that’s without any new ideas or discoveries that come up.  The enthusiasm would wane if I imposed limitations on style. Why not take full advantage of unplanned, random “opportunities”?

(“Play things” with a license to be fickle!)

While working on this issue of Studio News, an example of how things can change unexpectedly emerged.

I was processing progress photos of the day’s work and some needed rotating. It turned out that one was better upside-down! In my eyes at least! In the group of four progress shots below you can see the difference. I guess we’re conditioned to see land as darker than sky most of the time anyway.

(Stages 1 to 4 of a current exploration.)

As I pondered, my mind went off on a tangent, automatically brainstorming, the implications and possibilities, as well as how to resolve this painting? This change of direction (literally!) might see me veer off on yet another exciting tangent. I don’t know yet, but I can feel “something”.

It was only a minor fickleness episode but it could change the course of this painting and my art generally. Who knows! It’s a big adventure.

Another painting in the series has shown me something else to investigate. Layer one didn’t cut it, nor did layer two. So I plastered some 3 in 1 paint over the whole shebang. Now I have a background that I really like and it’s asking for something. I don’t know what. It’ll be a waiting game. An incubation period. Another adventure.

(Layers 1, 2 and 3, top to bottom)

Sometimes, it really is difficult to know what to pursue and what to forget. I think the only way to cope with all this fickleness might be to act on impulse. You know, those sudden intuitive directives that say “just do this, or that” or “what if we do this?” Be impulsive and fickle right back, test the fickleness, use it. Trust your judgement and intuition. Don’t be predictable. Instil a little adventure and excitement into the process and let it show.

New Work

“Trackwork” and “Swell” are now listed on Bluethumb

“Trackwork” 40cm wide x 28cm high
“Swell” 68cm wide x 25cm high

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Click here to find out about exhibitions Wendy currently has work in.


Out There

One of my clear memories is a sort of feeling of release and relaxed bliss.  At some point I seem to fill up with awe at what surrounds me and the fact that I am able to be there.  There’s usually a big sigh and a feeling of peaceful contentment to follow.  Joy!

What is this rambling on about?

It’s how I sometimes feel when out in the wild landscape.  Here, in Tasmania we have some wonderful bushwalks that take us out among the mountains, rivers, a multitude of various types of landscapes.  It’s where I love to be!  Even better if there’s time to sketch (an artists’ equivalent of smelling the roses!).  You may have seen the photos in the last Studio News.

These works are the beginnings of a new series – “Out There.”  It’s a broad theme which leaves my options wide open.  What will develop as I find my way around the ideas? Where will it lead?  Perhaps, in future series things will narrow down a bit and be more specific.

(This first layer could be titled “Into the Blue”! (I got carried away using my new painting wedge.) There’s a lesson there, but I’m not sure what it is? It’s either go slow, or don’t? Things can work out either way it seems.)

These photos show the first layer for two of the paintings.

(This one is more random!)

Where to next? Sky shapes were used to define the mountain range. Later, more white was added to the sky.

There was an urge to draw into them rather than add too much more paint. So, out came the Neocolour II crayons that have been sitting about for ages awaiting this precise moment! (They haven’t inspired me much before, so we’ll see how this goes.)

(This is the painting from above after I had a little play with the Neocolours.)

There are five of these long ones (70×30cm) in the group. They’re great to just wander up to, make a few marks and wander off again. That’s one of the benefits of drawing materials … ease of use!

Is this one done yet?

New Work

“Genesis” is now available on Bluethumb.

“Genesis” 54.5cm wide x 56.5cm high

Until next time and ….. as the sign someone was holding up in our street this week said …… “Keep your chin up”!

Subscribe here to receive fortnightly issues of “Studio News”.

Click here to find out about exhibitions Wendy currently has work in.


Teaming Up- Six little squares start their adventure

Starting a new series of paintings is always exciting. You’re never sure what the outcome will be. Although, at the beginning there is something, an idea, colour palette, sketch or subject, they always alter and develop. In my experience, if you stick rigidly to the initial idea the results are never as good and you don’t have as much fun or make new discoveries.

With this series, the idea was to begin with expressive lines inspired by the landscape. Not literal interpretations but more lively and adventurous ones. Lines I could feel as I recalled being “in” the landscape. Lines that flowed and changed direction with characteristics that altered as I worked.

Some areas were sprayed with water to add elements of chance and randomness. Water moves the paint around and makes different marks, none of which you can fully control. This is a wonderful stage as you watch what happens. See how in the first square the water has run down, over the acrylic paint pen line, lifting out paint as it ran across. A new discovery! Serendipity! Artists are lucky to be able to feel the joy of creating in this playful manner. Exploring, experimenting, discovering and generally having a damn good time. Hopefully, viewers of a painting can “feel” this too.

This technique of drawing and starting new paintings is very inspiring and I can barely wait for this layer to dry before I continue. It’s like a hot loaf of fresh homemade bread. You just can’t wait! Can you smell it? The next step uses more skill and judgement. I like the combination of chance and purposefulness!

Having decided on a palette of colours to use, I look for designs that may have been created within each section. From here on, it’s a process of look, pick an area or shape, then a colour, technique and tool to use. All the while being conscious of whether the designs look and feel right. It’s a case of feeling right because you can feel it almost before you can “see” it.

I like to let things “cook” a little between tasks. It’s like a “getting to know each other” bonding time. It may end with me knowing just what comes next or, perhaps, not having a blooming clue! Either way, something new is emerging from somewhere.

See if you can guess what I might do next? The image at the top is a dead give away!

Next time I’ll hopefully show you the finished, named paintings all ready for uploading to the website. Will all six pass muster?!

Subscribe here to receive fortnightly issues of “Studio News”.

Click here to find out about exhibitions Wendy currently has work in.