Recently, while preparing for an Open House weekend in my Studio, I opened the ‘vault’ and surrounded myself with some of the artwork from my early days as an artist, to the most recent works still in progress. It was a fascinating and somewhat emotional journey to see the evolution of my art, and to experience the memories that were tied to those periods in my life. There was certainly a common stylistic thread amongst the artworks, even dating back to the times of ‘jewellery making’ and abstract photography, and yet it was clear that transitions had occurred.
The similarities across the mediums I explored were most noticeable in the shapes I created. There were always fluid, organic shapes and lines, a sense of irrepressible movement, a flow of energy. And there were a lot of circles and lines, especially in the earlier works, dissipating into more ethereal splashes of colour, as if the restraint and the control of the past had been released and a new freedom and confidence were emerging.
Another thread that continues to find its way into my works is the angled line, often a curved approximation of 45 degrees, sometimes reaching into the corners of the canvas. Even brush strokes and palette knife marks are prominent at these angles. It’s not intentional. It just happens to be the way my hand moves and my eyes perceive balance in composition. When I try to introduce a horizontal or vertical line, it feels somehow unnatural to me, with the exception of my seascapes, although even there, that horizon line is not always present! But there we go, one of my mantras for life: “There are no straight lines in nature”, and neither are there any perfectly straight paths in life. Surprises happen. It’s how we deal with what we’re given, that determines the life we’ll lead – or the art we make.
Can we talk about neutrals? Not so much (smile). It’s all about colour in my world; deeply saturated, vibrant colour: blue, magenta, yellow. Dark against light, the differences are celebrated. I’ve seen the colours explode all around me, in places near and far. I’ve travelled the world exploring, experiencing the fact that all of this beauty and messiness is part of the human experience. That involvement in the full spectrum of life gives me fuel to reorganize the chaos into something new on the canvas. I am the Universe, the Universe is within me, and it will spill out onto the canvas in new ways again and again. There is such immense joy in distilling the experience of one’s life in a subconscious way, seeing it make sense only once it’s fully expressed. I surprise myself in the process of making art.
At the moment, I find myself at yet another crossroad, wondering what evolution will occur next in my work. I’ve just completed a series of water paintings and I don’t feel like I’m done with those. There’s more to experiment with on that front. But I also feel something new brewing; a sense of openness, even eagerness for change. Adaptability has always been a part of my nature. Experimentation in the studio will, undoubtedly, bring forth both frustrations and excitement. Ultimately, what happens in the studio will bring about another transition, but one borne out of who I have become, not only who I was. The future version of my artistic journey lies waiting. I hope to see you on the journey!
And here, for your interest, are a few examples of work from the past to the present.
Years ago, when photography was my favoured medium, I began abstracting the images I created. That opened the door to seeing other mediums in an abstract way. My first abstract art used mixed media: foil, acrylic paint and epoxy resin over the entire surface.
From there I moved into watery washes that I still work with today, but there were a lot of circles, or bubbles and distinct shapes appearing for a period. Much later, my paintings became more complex and yet also looser, required layering colour over colour as if creating the future meant building on the past.
These paintings, done with a palette knife, as well as a brush, giving sharper edges, but still they share a sense of similar movement and composition.They were painted a couple of years apart!
The first diptych was created a few years ago. It was the beginning of the ethereal mode, something that is much harder to create effectively than it looks! I realized, sometimes less really is more effective. The two water inspired paintings are most recent. Today, I combine different techniques and let the painting tell me what it wants to be. In my studio, I now have the freedom to create both playfully and earnestly, but always with passion to share my heart and soul with you.