After completing part 2 I have hit a defining moment. I don’t want to produce work that dwells on the darker side of human nature. I want for my work to bring hope, aspiration and light, even if it is dealing with a more challenging subject.
I find looking through contemporary painting books hard work – perversion, distortion, darkness, violence, the grotesque – it seems to be en vogue to focus on the darkest realms of the human psyche. It is difficult to find contemporary artists that reflect inner beauty in their work.
The Abstract Expressionists encapsulate something enormously important for my practice. The current RA exhibition has been a huge source of inspiration. I know I want to be a figurative artist in some way, but it’s the colour and form of the abstract work from this period that gives me the biggest sense of my own strengths.
The main points I need to take forward:-
- Colour – the most vital ingredient in communicating something spiritual or uplifting in energy. I need to become expert in the language of colour
- Materials – engaging with this on a deeper level. Connecting with how this ‘feels’ as much as the aesthetics of it is so important. Also combinations of materials – charcoal with oil or acrylic
- Scale – This doesn’t just include the scale of the canvas but the brush strokes too. Loose broad gestural painting work evokes a feeling state much more effectively
- Divisions within the work – contemplating where dividing/connecting lines will fall and how that effects the uplift of the painting
- Layers – Need to take the time to build up layers, painting over colour. Can I do this just by feelings?
Whose work had the biggest impact?
Sam Francis (beautiful balance of colour to negative space), Robert Motherwell (abstract, spiritual), Clyfford Still (amazing textures, abstraction and form).
Recognising these artists as crucial to my own development I then looked to contemporary artists to provide a balance. The following artists also feel vital to my understanding of where to go next:-
Eleanor Moreton www.eleanormoreton.co.uk (application of paint and methodology)
Kim Baker www.kimbaker.co.uk (translucent colours, abstraction of form, textural brush strokes)
Emma Talbot www.emmatalbot.org.uk/paintings.html (whimsical, dream like, reflections on inner world)
Peter Doig (early work) www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/peter-doig-2361 (impact of colour and application)
Steve Moberly www.stevemoberly.co.uk (colours, abstraction)
Sarah Dwyer www.sarahdwyer.com (abstraction, colour)
Karl Bielik www.karlbielik.com (abstraction, colour)