Posts Tagged ‘Painting’
Work in Progress oil on canvas Marianne Slevin
There has been a lot of Alan Watts recorded chatter going on around here lately. Alan Watts was a very entertaining philosopher. The book is called “Your it!” James gave it to me for my Birthday, he also gave me “Empowering Women” by Louise L. Hay, I have been really enjoying both of them. What really struck me from the very beginning of both books was that the authors said “I am not a healer” Louise L. Hay and “I am not a guru” Alan Watts, it is all about you. I like this attitude. What I also realized was that I want to be “digging the now” as Alan Watts puts it, when it comes to making art and doing it because I am really enjoying doing it, not to try to be good or make work to impress people. This my seem obvious but when I heard it, it made me rethink. There is so much pressure on artist trying to look and sound coherent particularly for commercial galleries that much of the enjoyment of making art is lost. Artists whose work was once exciting and unselfconscious becomes dull, tripping over itself. What is the point unless you are enjoying it! I know I enjoy making art but somehow I never fully realized just how important that was before. I wanted to make good work before, now I don’t care who thinks it is good or not I am just doing it because I enjoy it. I feel like I have defiantly lost a couple of wrinkles!
This sounds really simple but what happens then is that what you enjoy doing one moment changes and you become bored and have to keep finding the new things to keep you surprised and entertained. Each different painting will have many different stages of enjoyment in it. With the piece that I have been working on for the past two months on and off, more off than on! I painted until I ran out of excitement and then I stopped, I looked at it many times to see if I know what to do with it, not until yesterday was I able to and today I really enjoyed bringing something else to it that I didn’t have before. It is constantly moving and shifting like everything else. There are challenging times when you are not enjoying it and you are wondering how to! For me every painting is unique and you have to kind of trick yourself to get out of your own way and let it happen. The allure of paintings for me is not in the obvious or the details but the magical symphony that happens when you soften your gaze and disengage your rational brain for a while!
Work in progress, “Organised Chaos”, mixed media by Marianne Slevin 2010
This is a photograph of a painting that I was just working on. I started it about a month ago and left it, not really knowing where to go next with it. I started it using pencil and pigment on cardboard. There was a drawing of branchlike lines and root-like lines beneath, our children had drawn something on it (they were allowed!) Then it was painted around the drawing with pigment.
I had been thinking about my art and how maybe I could combine many of the different aspects of the ways I work in one piece, such as working on the idea of mycelium but ion a freer way that my be more dreamlike and open to include other interests and intuitions. Content and focus can be great but sometimes you got to let go a bit and be more spontaneous and in the moment. I suddenly realized that I was like a painting I started about 14 years ago, but taking it to new places. It was like revisiting a moment in time, but with a different perspective. Now looking around the studio it does kind of knit much of the work together, like a missing link, maybe.
I have started reading about the chaos theory, it is early days yet to say how much or little it relates to my work, but so far it is fascinating and I am also fascinated with quantum physics, particularly an experiment where they discovered atoms behave differently when they are being observed. The one experiment I found is called Dr. Quantum Double split experiment. This really leads me to all sorts of wonderings! So what we see is actually changed by us seeing it. Are paintings and other Visual Art changed by those who view it? This is a theory James suggested being a possible reason for certain art works becoming exceptionally famous compared with other works of a similar quality. We noticed that when people came into the gallery a really liked a certain painting, often the next few visitors would also comment on that painting, had the previous viewers actually changed and energized the atoms in the painting by viewing it? And if viewing a piece of art with a positive feeling adds to it and if viewing it with a negative feeling takes from it? Maybe we will do this experiment one day, as James suggested. Has anyone any thoughts or experiences on this, I would really like to learn more about it, so please feel free to voice them.
“Jellyfish 1”, oil on canvas by Marianne Slevin 2010
“Jellyfish 1 and 2”, oil on canvas by Marianne Slevin, 2010
These are two paintings I am currently working on, whether they are finished or not, I am not sure yet. I started the dark one a few days ago and the light one only yesterday. I like the contrast; they are like opposites but of the same thing. These were inspired by watching a David Attenbrough nature documentary, called “creatures of the deep”. I was blown away by the haunting images of the jellyfish. A billion years before there was life on the earth, life began in the sea. Jellyfish have no brains and no blood, I find them fascinating and really lovely to paint! As my painting is a lot about the process I am using the jellyfish as a starting point but allowing the paint and marks to have their own journey too. Building up layers of transparent glazes and opaque flatter areas, so it becomes deeper and quite dreamlike.
So I still am alive and well! My no tech week seemed to trigger off a long spell of almost no tech. I think once we get out of the habit of something then it can be hard to do it again. I think a lot about making art is habit, so it is really important to develop good habits, as the more we do the better we get. Sometimes we are not in the “mood” but that can change once we don’t expect to be” perfect” (in our own our own eyes anyway). Surprising our selves can be one of the best things we can do in our art practice, why are we so afraid of the unknown? Art is a journey some times difficult sometimes easy but always exploratory. The painting above was a journey that took many twists and turns, and surprised me many times. Yesterday I came to the end of that particular journey, I had been trying to unite the figure (myself) and the rest of the painting, and finally I think I did.
Today, I am going to begin to write a little bit about, how some of my paintings or other art pieces come about. Well, just about everything that I am anyway aware of, effects my art work! That which I put in and also that which I omit. What is left out of an art work often says as much as what is in it. The art making process is a sort of distillery of time, space and experience. Sifting through the river bed at a rapid speed, honing in when there is a sparkle as not to miss anything precious.
Over time our specific areas of interest become more developed, embracing new ideas that fit in with the growing picture. I have always loved nature, now that love of nature is finding nature in all sorts of places, such as the kitchen.
There are many parts to this art making beast, but it may be helpful for them all to join hands and cooperate. Many artists talk as if their inner art critic is a dreadful unruly beast that they would be better off without, and perhaps they are right, but perhaps our inner art critic could be useful if we listened to them and gave them a little of our time, maybe they are just angry cause we think we know it all.
May I suggest a meeting with the inner art critic; a constructive interview. Hear what they have to say, and have a conversation, debate and put your side forward too. This may stop future torment in the studio mid movement! Which is far worse and hurtful. Put that dreadful little voice to rest for good or take some advice that could be worth taking. Grab it by the horns over a coffee or Jasmin tea! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could actually made peace with our inner art critic?
There are many things that we believe about ourselves that keep us in a nice neatly wrapped up package of what we call ourselves; such as I am a vegetarian, I am good with horses, I am good at cleaning, I am never angry! The truth can be a little different sometimes! Often for the sake of easiness we will put ourselves into a box. I am a painter sometimes and a person who does different sorts of creative things, and if I try to make too much sense out of what I do it starts to vanish.
The pressure that comes from trying to be a professional artist aged 30 something can lead to feeling that by now I should know what I am doing. I should be clear and concise and be producing large bodies of work all finished and ready for hanging neatly in a gallery. That the work should have an undeniable style and theme. Now the truth is more messy then that and hopefully less boring too. The truth for me is that certain themes come and go over the years, that there are several different styles and every piece of art I make is different, this could be to do with the fact that I nearly always start a painting with pretending that it is the first painting I ever did, and seeing what emerges. I think that when you see an artist’s work that all looks very similar it probably has come from a more conscious place in the artist, and that is a valid way to make art too. I think that often galleries and the audience are more comfortable with it. This is probably why so many artists feel that they should make matching work, it looks much more together on an application.
I often intend to make a series of drawings or paintings, but after about two pieces I have lost the desire to continue, it just feels fake. Though this may happen naturally over time if it is not forced. A few times with certain types of art work I have made a series of them, such as painted text scrolls, but when I try to make a piece similar to other work it just feels like a clone and not the real thing! How ever this could all change and this time next year I could be working on “Wind blow tree No.105”!