I LOVED that dance as a kid. Especially the bit where you all join hands in a circle – the more of you the better – then all rush in to the middle, back and forth till the song ends.
This back and forth was my absolute favourite bit, even though you risked being crushed. But I was never afraid. My only feeling was joy and loving being swept into the middle by adults. Carried forward and back not entirely under my own momentum.
That’s what making art is like for me. Except….with less joy at the backward moving parts, especially the more time goes on.
I don’t know if this is an adult thing, or a me thing, but I do have expectations of results, rightly or wrongly. I know we’re all meant to enjoy the doing, and I do, but I do think the end result matters, if only to reflect on whether or not you learned anything. And ultimately we need to be able to judge our work for composition, balance, movement, value.
I have to work hard to accept the backward motion that it is part of the ebb and flow not just of art making, but of life.
Recently I’ve spent a lot of time exploring, both in approach and medium. Trying to find my sweet spot, the place where I pull together all the particular elements I like and discard the things I don’t. Sometimes it’s been fun, other times not so much!
But today I woke up and out of me came what I wanted at that moment. And, for all the collage, and texture making, and scraping and graphite, I ended up right back where I started – with just me and the paint, which I loved, and, I love the results.
The paintings started life like this, some weeks ago:
And I just wasn’t feeling it at all. But I left them alone, parked them on my mantel and lived with them for a while, to see whether that changed. It didn’t.
These little abstracts were based on the rapeseed fields in the hills near my home. I saw the yellow in a magazine and thought it was perfect. I’ve tried a few times to capture these hills at this time of year and never really achieved what I wanted, and though I enjoyed this process, it wasn’t quite what I was after either.
Then this morning I woke up and did these:
It’s like I did reverse abstraction! It’s amused me rather, that I’ve gone all over the orchard (as we say in Somerset) to arrive back at the place I started!
But I haven’t though. I don’t think I could have achieved this looseness of brush work and fresh palette without my explorations.
After all, it’s what the hokey cokey’s all about!