After a long summer of grieving and redecorating and fulfilling all the duties of a single parent, the children started back to school in September.
The Autumn term is my time for painting, I go back to my normal routine, 3 days at work, 2 days in the shed, and every other Saturday in the shed while the children stay at their father’s house.
Although I had been painting intermittently over the summer, my focus was scattered in my grief state, and I have found I have had to really push myself to reignite my painting practise.
It is painting however that gives me my balance and ability to cope with the never ending trials that life brings to me, so now I am back into my routine and painting regularly I find that I am also able to deal a bit better with the intense grief I have felt at losing not only my father but also my partner at the same time.
To be honest 2017 has been a very tough year for me, perhaps the greatest consolation is that my paintings have been selling well with New Blood Art, and the fact that my son is much happier in his new school. Having a happy son makes such a difference to our family unit and experience at home. We also gained two kittens and they have brought with them much comfort in our losses.
Falling into a state of creative procrastination has always been something I have struggled with, especially when in grief, or sadness at a loss. The loss of my Father has perhaps been the biggest loss I have ever had to face. He has always been such a strong force in my life, my psyche, and I have always felt safe that he was there. Watching him die, watching the cancer consume him, this strong wonderful man, is something that I am still processing. It is a cruel death for one so independent and sharp witted, but one which I hope that we as a family made more bearable for him.
Whilst he was dying I started the body of work called the ‘Lookout’ series (see earlier blog posts).
I am still working with this motif in the work I am doing now.
I am still exploring this motif and now that my practise is gaining pace, I am going back to a previous method of painting whereby I allow the process to dictate the painting more.
I think on some of the paintings I have been working on just subsequent to Dad’s death I have been holding on to sketches or conceptual ideas of what I want to create, but as time goes on, the process again is dictating the composition and the incorporation of the motif in a highly subconscious and connected level. I find I am listening again to the canvas and stopping before I find the conversation becomes confused by the noise of my mind.
I have several canvases ready to start painting on to which is always good for me psychologically.
My biggest problem now is where to put them all, as with the hurricanes and the rain my shed is becoming damp.
My bedroom becomes the driest and safest storage space for my drying paintings over the winter months.
The most important thing is that by painting I work through ideas that I find difficult to formalise in words, and as I paint I notice the many decisions I am making in my process which are conscious.
Which palette, what size canvas, which brushes shall I use, shall I paint it upright or lying down?
Then as the process begins, the marking and responding to that mark and looking and listening is where I feel the total and pure act of creativity begins.
I notice I remember older paintings and marks or gestures or compositions I have used before.
Sometimes I fight with that, and feel that I should always be totally original and change everything I have done before. Other times, I feel that these compositions, these marks, are a part of me, are my expression, are specific to my paintings and should be celebrated.
I think overwhelmingly when I paint it is my love of the chemical process occurring before my eyes that excites me. The unexpected becomes something beautiful and engaging.
Once the babble of my mind, what I ought to do, what would be intelligent or might sell becomes silent; the freedom of doing, of painting, of allowing the process to happen dominates and I then feel connected.
My work will continue to be a processing of the difficult things that have affected me this year. Death and loss are things that we all experience in our lives, and perhaps my journey of recovery through painting will speak to others. That is always my hope with painting, that my work speaks to others as it does to me in the moment of painting.
Some of the paintings shown here are still in process.
All finished works will be uploaded onto the gallery once photographed professionally.