Still feeling rather at sea with painting but trying to enjoy the freedom that this gives. When you are not painting there is a feeling that you could do anything; but when you start painting a logic develops that starts to direct the way forward. I’m trying to consciously lean towards freedom and away from direction and just follow where things go. This big two part painting has been in slow progress all winter and I feel I know it far too well. Frustrated, last week I overlaid it with a different image and I like it better already. It seems to point to somewhere I don’t know…
Starting back in the studio after a big exhibition is always difficult. There is an inevitable feeling of deflation after an exhibition, a sense of ‘…is that it?’. And it is not easy just to reengage with work where you left off. There is a feeling of drift which I am trying to be OK with and use as a positive. So I have been working on several things without much thought about where they will go. I started walking at Manningtree, along the river bank behind the industrial estate and under the rail bridge, making drawings and some studio paintings on paper.
I have also returned to this big diptych I have been working on through the winter realising it had become too complicated and a bit of a fiesta. I reworked some of the bigger pieces on paper that I made for it and then worked back into the canvases. All a bit open-ended at the moment…
I have also been drawing near Kirby Quay where the water running out through a sluice at low tide has kept clear a big double curved channel through the saltings.
It looks like I know what I’m doing but it doesn’t feel much like it at the moment. Maybe that is not such a bad thing…
A group of 30x30cm paintings in the studio and in Messum’s.
Exhibiting work is part of the process. It is good too have work out of the studio and see it with a small degree of objectivity. In the studio it is part of the whole provisional project of making, in the gallery it is made and removed from you. It can be disconcerting seeing the same thing presented and complete; an exhibition acts as somekind of full stop in the process and unintentionally makes it difficult just to resume where you left off in the studio. So I have been trying to enjoy these days of not knowing what I’m doing, a kind of lightness and drift that is only there occasionally. I have been walking in different places, making groups of unrelated drawings, making small paintings in pairs and hoping these unanchored moments will move things sideways and eventually forward.
My exhibition at Messum’s continues to 6th April. www.messums.com
This painting has been resting this week but might be somewhere near finished. I’m still thinking about it and so have been making watercolours from it to see what is and isn’t going on. I have also been looking at it alongside the first version (see 31st December) and seeing how they stand up to each other. Social relations in the studio are quite complicated!
A very cold but bright day in the studio. Early morning sun followed by a clear frost blue afternoon.