The time has finally arrived for me to sit back and contemplate the previous year (2016) and in doing so I have gone on to look back further into the last three to four years I have spent working away at a career as a painter. I think that I will be somewhat therapeutic but also greatly beneficial to those who also follow my career, and who have done since I started fully pursuing my dream in 2009/10, who want to know a little more about the apparent twists and turns evident in my artistic approach specifically in the last two years. This post is going to be my attempt to fill you in with a short bio on why my style of painting has changed and some of the thoughts and events that have occurred to lead me in this direction.
‘Nevermore; the Raven 1’ 2014 Oil, acrylic, charcoal, chalk, colour pencil, spray paint and paint pen on board.
Upon looking at my work from 2014 I even myself have noticed what a dramatic change there has been in my technical approach, there is not a simple reason for such a thing but more of an accumulation of thinking and feeling differently about my own place in the world and in relation to art. If I am to try objectively however, to explain such a thing now in 2017, with the heightened perspective of time, the main reason for turning my hand away from the ‘Whiteley-esque’ approach and the inclusion of a lot of abstract elements; towards a far more basic traditional direct approach is that I felt it was necessary to have a strong technical foundation in being able to paint the figure. For all of my paintings until 2015 I had being relying heavily upon having a good foundational basis in drawing the figure. I was confident that I could draw the figure well, however I did not have this same confidence with regards to painting, and thus this actually led to my feeling insecure about this perceived weakness in my work. So I set about teaching myself how to painstakingly learn to paint a face, and the figure in likeness to reality, that when I might return to my orignal method of composition that I would do so with a full confidence in my ability.
Its also around this time in later 2014 that my living arrangement went from being quite comfortable to then becoming rather hectic with the addition of a housemate heavily involved in drugs etc, something that I myself have had long struggle with personally (but have largely overcome), and although at first it was not apparent, this persons behavior came to have a great effect upon me. Having more chaotic surroundings led to subconsciously trying to make more honed, clearer work. A lot more could be said about this period but it had a major effect upon my own relation to my work, the decision to knuckle down and teach myself the method of oil painting figures was also further re-enforced through my strong effort over 12 months with the help of my doctor to slowly be weaned off a particular medication that I had been taking for four years. This made me very unwell for the entirety of those 12 months.
All this leading into 2016 and it became time to wrap up the traditional element by completing a large piece totally in oils, thus you have the painting ‘Waking Fate’ a work that came to represent my battle with sickness and chaotic surroundings. Subsequently due to the chaotic behaviour from this person I was also evicted from my residence, and had to find another place to live very quickly. I did find a new house, new studio etc, however unfortunately being in a state of relative vulnerability at the time, this led to me basically moving into another similar situation although it did appear to be potentially more peaceful from the outset. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to merge these newly learnt techniques with my original idea of composition. And my completely traditional work did not meet with positive reviews unfortunately. There were certain months where I was pulling my hair out and just simply not having any luck but then I started drawing again, bringing in my new techniques and re-working old ideas, and finally it all seemed to start to click.
By November 2016 I had to up and leave the 2nd residence too, so now I am back with family and looking to focus and catch up on living in a peaceful environment, now, finally a place where I can work upon re-unifying what I have learnt about figure painting, with the more unique and original method of abstract composition I was working with in 2014 – 15. I am now more confident in my ability than ever, I guess that really this twisting and turning of artistic approach has really been driven by insecurity. Every time I sell a painting I feel an enormous responsibility to be a genuine painter, someone who really makes a true effort to give the viewer a piece of my soul, to really have suffered and lived every moment that works towards creating that piece. To have genuine technical ability to carry out the whims of emotional expression is paramount to me, and I now feel confident in my ability to present people with artwork that speaks in that manner.
Thankyou to all those who have continued on following and supporting my career, this dream of mine is further and further growing everyday and I feel so blessed to be able to carry it out. I hope for those that get the time to read my short bio above, that by no means is an exhaustive explanation, understand a little further why the necessary breaks and transitions in my approach. Now looking forward into 2017 be prepared and excited to see paintings that are bold, evocative and originally exciting, similar yet far better than those you saw in 2014. One thing that rings true is that I am for certain dedicated to pushing forward no matter what obstacles lay in front of me.
Kind regards (ps: look out for my next post, I will share newest pieces from late 2016)