Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The Studio...

I love my time in the studio. It’s a retreat where I really enjoy the time spent developing the work as much as the act of making the paintings themselves. I’ve mentioned before that I try and actually carry out the painting in one day, and that this can be very intense as I try and get ‘in the moment’ and give myself up to the process. I takes a great deal of effort and concentration. The development of the work to get to the point of making the paintings on these days is a much slower process. This can be anything from weeks, months, and even years. I spend more time thinking about the work as I do creating it.

I draw in sketchbooks, anything from spontaneous sketches to more detailed drawings over several hours, to generate material and ideas. Most of the time these drawings are filed away in the plan chest or remain in the books, but every now and then I will go through them and ‘rediscover’ in them qualities I had not seen before, or that now resonate with the ideas I am working with now. I will then take these drawings and develop them further by making larger charcoal drawings, which helps me get more of a sense as to how they will work as paintings. I then make chalk pastel or painted studies in oil, where I try to explore colour and light (this can often necessitate returning to the original subject in some form), before then exploring the scale that I think is right for the painting. I think a lot about scale. I then make a final preparatory ‘to scale’ drawing in charcoal before putting a stretcher together and stretching and priming the canvas. The photos above show some of the processes I’ve used to work towards two painting I’m hoping to work on in the next few days.

Here are some images of the studio wall at present that may help to illustrate this. A lot of these drawings are actually quite old, but seem exciting to me now. I like the feel of their juxtaposition on the wall and just living with the feelings this creates. Some of these drawings I know I still won’t touch again (I just don’t have the time as much as anything), but I know that they have a part to play at this stage, however subtle. I’ll spend a long time just looking at these things.

Above are a couple of recent ‘plein air’ paintings of the M5 in West Bromwich. I’m sure they will develop further at some point.

I keep big ‘scrapbooks’ of articles and images too, that all feed into the creative process and act as inspiration. These come from all sorts of different sources; articles on favourite artists; images from painting journals and newspapers; reviews; interviews. I’m really fascinated by, and love reading about, creativity and how artists think and make their work. This isn’t just painters and artists though, I love reading about music too and how great records were made. I know they can make it look easy, but as someone who tries to be creative too, I know just how difficult and how much effort is required to create anything seemingly worthwhile.

I hope you find this insight into my own creative endeavours interesting…

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