After a year of very little painting (been just a tad busy teaching 14 workshops, writing a book and launching an E-Course…yikes!), I spent the last month grooving away in my new studio—such soul food for this hungry soulful painter!
I decided I needed to take a little bit of my own advice and be more brave with my own work and push the boundaries of what feels comfortable—just to see what might open up. I decided to challenge myself by not using any recognizable imagery. Not an easy task for a girl who loves birds, pods, branches and flowers as much as I do! But, I have to say, giving myself these boundaries brought a spark back to my painting practice. It felt slightly dangerous (as dangerous as painting can be). I felt like an explorer in a new land, and if you know me at all, you know that I'm kind of addicted to this feeling!
I found myself playing with dry metallic pigments, allowing them to mix with streams of water and drippy fluid acrylics. I hardly touched a brush. The process became all about dripping, spraying, layering and releasing control. These photos don't exactly do them justice because the pretty metallics just look kinda brown here, but trust me when I say they are quite sparkly in real life! I'm not sure if these two are finished, but the journey into abstraction has been a powerful one indeed.
For this next painting, I started to play around with spray paint and stencils on top of the drippy metallic color fields.
And for these next two, I added more spray paint, kept with the mostly abstact theme and allowed a few pods to sneak back in.
This last piece will look a little more familar to you. It was a commission I did for some friends so I brought back my old friends: birds, branches and pods. However, some of the new discoveries I made while painting without imagery definitely influenced this piece—such a good reminder to be open to change, embrace new challenges and keep exploring uncharted territory!
More thoughts on bravery right here in this little ditty I wrote for Catherine Just's blog recently…