The Importance of Experimentation

I have come to realise the importance of experimentation, not just in the studio, but with life. I’m not talking about anything life threatening or physically painful, but just enough to push yourself out of the comfort zone. Why? Because stretching yourself in one area releases courage in another.

Experimentation in my arts practice shakes up my routine and forces me to reconsider my process as well as introducing me to new ways of discovering texture and mark making. Is it uncomfortable? – yes, does it always yield good results? – no, is it worthwhile? – absolutely!

The images below are those I considered worked, I used a mix of media; acrylic, pencil, pastel, ink, and watercolour with various bushes.

The image below did not work as a stand alone image, however, there is something in the washes of greens and the high horizon line, sitting next to the hard bristle strokes of the purple marks that I will be further exploring…nothing is lost.

Last year I attended an online workshop with Louise Fletcher an artist and tutor from Yorkshire in England. I am repeating this workshop this year. The six acrylic squares at the start of this post is part of the first exercise from her course, it is a great way of loosening up and having fun with acrylic.

Thoughts on Comparison

I have on occasion, especially during my early years as an artist, asked myself why I am doing this when there are so many incredible and successful (which is relative) artists out there who are far better than I and selling far more. The answer for me is that it is my happy place, my sanctuary, my opportunity to express myself truthfully, with lines and colours of so many emotions. I create memories, I exorcise my demons, I feed my soul through my creativity because that is my responsibility not anyone else’s. There is both challenge and absolute joy in playing with colour and texture, in rendering my environment the way I wish – my way. It sounds selfish – and maybe it is, but on occasion a person will see something in my work that lights them up, or makes them think, or just allows them for a moment to escape the norms of this life. I am enough, and my art is enough…just as you and your creativity is enough to carry on creating.

(Image: Sunrise Hut – Ruahine Forest Park – a few years ago…)

Reflections of late Autumn – mixed media.

This is one of three pieces I have been working on and it seems as the temperature drops here in New Zealand, so the contrast darkens in my work. I have always been a lover of a strong black line with its potential for drama, and I think that is apparent in this piece. Below is the first landscape in this trilogy, and although signed does at this point feel a little unfinished so I may possibly revisit this.

Below are the starting points of the three landscapes. Middle image was the beginnings of the work featured on the easel.

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