So after what seems to have been an endless quest to move my work on, I have had a break through, by chance?
Like many things there appears to be no tangible reasons or formula as to why. Usually I am not so productive in the summer finding myself overwhelmed by the endless tones of green and the sheer complexities of the summer landscape here in Dorset.
So why now? Chance is the short answer, each painting for me is a challenge, some more than others but its never as simple as "this is what I want to paint" and then thats what happens. For me it's a process of finding a magic mark, a shape or form which allows me to become engaged in the painting. So if I want a summer landscape then it's merely the colour that is a conscious decision, the rest is down to the "process" or luck? I might engage with the mark making really quickly and each added mark will come more easily with no thought process, others will trip me up and stop me dead. It's all about energy, I would imagine most of us know you have to keep the energy in a painting, over work your image and it will literally fall apart in front of you're eyes.
Avoid risks and your work will not evolve or become a better painting. So how do I make chance work for me? It has to be narrowed down, the odds need to be more favourable so to speak, reduce the risk of losing the painting completely. I use the years and years of repeating this process, finding new gains and avoiding the full blown failures, to be brave, but not pushing it to quickly, understand the mistakes first then avoid them like a plague. But obviously it's not that simple, which is ironic as simple is the key for me to all great paintings. If you don't take risks or allow the marks to move and grow from all that repeating you will avoid making those allusive "lucky marks (mistakes)".
I am not fazed by a blank canvas, that's not my fear, its knowing at some point I am going to create a cacophony of marks that make an image that I am satisfied with, briefly at least. Now heres the fear, at this point can I and will I stop or will I revert to a safe place or worst fiddle. Making the wrong choice I have now learnt can and does stop me painting for months. Now I know to just walk away, walk away from the dam thing, don't fight it, don't indulge it, don't destroy it, physically or mentally as I did in earlier years . So chance was the maker of my latest works, a moment of luck? A few marks made with a new brush, yes, a new shape of canvas, yes. Perhaps the most telling is walking the same route over and over again with my new dog due to lockdown and maybe my own fear and sense of duty to keep safe and stay safe.A two hour circular walk through flood meadow, wooded lanes, forests, heathland, riverside peppered with farmland, horses, tractors and in my pups case plastic bottles and squirrels.
For me there is no romance in painting, no beret and coffee, just a never ending crusade to push your work, mental blocks, frustrations, questions, with the hum of self doubt buzzing in your creative ears . The tight rope between producing the same work over and over again or pushing your style, if you've found it, is thin and high. I fight not to be complacent, strive to push myself and my work even though this choice has the risk of causing me to stop completely, somedays that seems closer than others