Tangled up in Blue
The colour blue seems to have taken over my work lately. I assume it’s something to do with the arrival of winter although I honestly don’t know that for sure.
Once upon a time, I would have worried about it – “all your paintings are blue” the mean little voice in my head would have been whispering. “What’s that all about? Shouldn’t you have some variety?”
But I’ve learned to trust my instincts and go with whatever comes up. The blue is there for a reason and I am enjoying the results.
I feel the same about the increasing abstraction in my work. Even if I set out to paint a specific scene, it winds up as a dreamy, spacious, abstract landscape. There is sky and there is land, but other than that, these scenes don’t make literal sense.
But when I go with this and just paint what I feel, the results can be so exciting – to me at least!
Take this unfinished 30″ x 22″ painting for example:
I started this piece during a bout of anxiety, as a way to calm myself down. I have no idea where or what it is, but I think it conveys a sense of the peace and inner strength I can always find in making art. I also love the contrast between indigo and white tinged with a touch of burnt sienna and I have taken this combination into other paintings. I am also enjoying creating texture using different marks and I want to develop this further.
These spells of anxiety and depression come and go. I have learned to welcome them because they always result in new work – in this case, all in blue! This small piece (10″ x 12″) was completed quickly and I managed to stop myself from over working it and spoiling it. This one is called ‘Walk Out to Winter” after the Aztec Camera song.
I especially love the orange spots, which came about when I spilled a few drops of water onto the painting. As a result, the orange underpainting showed through and instead of fussing with it as I sometimes do, I left it. I think making art is as much about knowing what to leave alone as it is about knowing what to put in.
Other paintings take longer and are built up layer by layer. This is my current favourite from my new work.
For me this painting captures how I feel when I am working successfully, when my paintings are expressing something authentic, when I am painting for the sheer pleasure of discovery and not to achieve any particular result or make any particular impression. It is all too easy to get caught up in my thoughts, but I find my best work comes when I clear my mind and just paint.
I’m excited to see where this new work leads. I hope you’ll share the journey with me. You can sign up to get blog updates in the black bar to the left of this page. Or you can follow me on Facebook here or on Instagram. and if you are interested in any of the paintings in this post or on my website, just drop me an email.