Can you tell it’s cold here in New Zealand? It’s not uncommon for me to want to generate some warmth through using a warm palette. This sketchbook study is a version of the work below. I had taken a video of this layered process but unfortunately my phone declined to cooperate. I will try again on my next composition.
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…)
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.
Influence and the emulation of creativity from one creative to another has been part of our culture for centuries, it is how we progress and adapt as artists and individuals. Degas studied classical painting under Louis Lamothe then followed in the footsteps of his idol, the French Neoclassicist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Vincent van Gogh traveled to Brussels to study under Willem Roelofs, his later influences included Toulouse-Latrec, Émile Henri Bernard and Paul Gauguin. Leonardo Da Vinci spent years under Verrocchio while Michelangelo studied under Bertoldo.
It is important who and what we focus on. It is beneficial to develop a continual awareness of how those influences impact our reality and effect our everyday. Life is too short to expose ourselves to negativity or to waste our energy in the pursuit of outcomes that are not related to the world we orbit or the aspirations we have for ourselves and those around us. Our sub-conscious mind is a sponge to external noise, let us absorb the harmonious and so maintain and share our peace and enthusiasm.
It is my joy to share my findings with others, to share my love of colour, creativity and those beautiful elements of nature that surround me. When the spark of a workshop idea emerges on my easel it is out of inquisitiveness and experimentation, involving some successes and definitely some failures. As with artists before me, it is through my own learning, from watching others create that I am able to follow ideas through into a worthwhile workshop. My current focus is landscape painting using soft pastel. I am following the teaching of several artists – in particular Marla Baggetta an amazing artist and tutor from Portland, Oregon – thank you Marla for sharing your talent and in turn allowing me to capture the beautiful landscape around me and sharing those experiences with others starting their creative journey.
My workshops are scheduled for early 2021, and so from now until then I continue gathering my own collection of ideas and experiences to share with you – details on my workshop page. Time to get back to my positive absorption!