Artists often talk about an “intuitive balance”, that comes from an involutary instinct. Whist painting, I often find that my hand is led by my eyes but then the decisions of each mark made, conclude with the heart.
The heart is the reaction or feeling of whether, or not, the colour, tone, shape or form that I add feels correct within the composition and therefore the intuitive balance has or has not, been accomplished.
Often the best abstract painting comes without thought, as overthinking can interrupt the creative process, instead of it being left alone to “just happen”. Like music, dance or writing, at times, you have to just see where it takes you.
Artists are always open and alert to the world around them, seeing and sensing all of the time. This is similar to the creative process that the French surrealists called “the principal of objective chance”.
Painting as Therapy
Many years ago, I worked with a captivating community of people. They were all living with mental health issues. Covering the whole spectrum, from depression and anxiety, psychosis and schizophrenia, to bipolar and personality disorder. Nearly all of these people would tell me the same thing. They would describe their thoughts and their minds as disordered, like a giant filing cabinet that had opened and the files had been blown away and mixed up by the wind or like a jigsaw puzzle that had fallen to the floor in a 1000 scattered pieces waiting to be put back together piece by piece. These ideas have had a strong influence on my collage, mosaic series of works. In my collages, I like to work on two opposing elements; painting with pure chaotic spontaneity, cutting pieces from various canvases and after this work is complete, I then reorder each piece into a more formal, systematic grid work.
I have always had a fascination with painting as a therapeutic activity because of its cathartic and non verbal communication.
Often I have been asked “what are your influences?” and I realise that they are people. People and their stories are fascinating; they can trigger images in my mind that I then translate into paintings. People tell me about their work, travels and family, their past and present, their thoughts and aspirations, and I then translate this information, in my mind, as images.
Many artists and philosophers have expressed in their own words the way in which, I love to work:
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance”
One of Britain’s most well respected artists and sculptors, Anthony Gormley, told The Times;
“I don’t think art is to be understood- it’s to be experienced”, “Art is not to be decoded. It is to be felt. Feeling comes before understanding.”
And Anselm Kiefer concludes this discussion by saying;
“Art really is something very difficult. It is difficult to make, and it is sometimes difficult for the viewer to understand…. A part of it should always include having to scratch your head.”
We could add that it is not only the viewer who is left scratching his head and wondering, but often, so is the artist. I am always happy to tell you the anecdotal reasons and influences behind my paintings and process, as this may be of interest to you, but you also have your own interpretations and narrative, and that is as much of an interest to me.