Well, I started this two week Firenze workshop from home, thanks to Covid virus lockdown, with the intention of moving on my creative process and to stop letting my 50+ years experience of painting and tough art college training from determining the outcomes, curtailing experimentation and just tidying it all up! I chose a 20 year-old experience of ‘The place where butterflies dance’ because it was a magical memory and not adaptable to a simplistic interpretation.
I stuck a 3×4 foot canvas to the wall (painting 1) and set off with big brushes and stopped after a day and a bit. I did a large charcoal drawing and then set off into a 3×5 foot canvas (Painting 2) and worked on that for several days with brushes, oil bars and pieces of card. This allowed me to really get into a painting process again and the work seemed to say ‘I’m finished, move on’.
So, I put another 3×5 foot canvas up (painting 3) and set off again into the same subject but in a bolder and freer way. The result is a much more expressive work and after several days I stopped to give it time to be and tell me what it needed to be whole.
I then started work on painting 1 again. I had been living with it for over a week and I started to see ways of moving it on. I let it speak of it’s needs and followed its demands and gradually the image morphed from ‘the place where butterflies dance’ to another memory of place, ‘the way to the giants’, standing stones in Morbihan. My artists controlling nature and training said, ‘this is wrong, get a grip and bend it to your will’, yet this was the very thing I was trying to overcome. I have skills and abilities and sometimes they just get in the way of change, exploration, experimentation and of seeing the world differently. So, I am in a dialogue with the painting. I am letting it speak to me as I work on it, it changes and so do it’s needs.
A strange but very important outcome for me from a cancelled workshop – I have changed and moved on and the paintings are still in play. I feel sorry for painting no.2 as it was the step that allowed me to change, but it is so locked up! As for the others, watch this space and I look forward to the real workshop next year, fingers crossed.