As a kid, I was the careful child, always sticking to the rules and pleasing people. In many ways my approach to art reflected these personality traits. I became a perfectionist in my work, with the end product being the most important thing. This type of art is more concerned with the response of others than the joy and wonder of creating. My perfectionist approach led me to hone my skills in the style I had developed. It was a safe place, I knew what I could achieve and that I had customers to buy all I produced. Yet in many ways it brought me to a place of emptiness and dissatisfaction, I think best described as a dead end!
Today I was presented with a different route, it was a road I was not familiar with, a road of risk, excitement, full of questions and the unknown. To learn to draw with paint not paint with paint seemed such a logical statement yet I hadn’t a clue what the end result would look like. I always associated ‘freedom, expression and looseness’ with a disconnection from the brain, i.e. when your hand moves independent of thinking. However I don’t think that is the case, I think it is exactly the opposite. I love the quote by Albert Einstein, ‘Creativity is intelligence having fun’. The process of creating is harnessing one’s knowledge, training and experience, then allowing it run free.
Emmm….these statements sound great but the actual physical process always has a huge question mark over it! For someone who logically works things out with it neatly presented and in order, running free sounded like a scary and messy concept! I decided to help myself in this step forward by changing my brushes. It seemed logical to me that if my hard drawing tools (graphite pencils) gave me a free, energetic mark perhaps my brushes were too soft. I needed to toughen them up a bit! So as I sat on the cliff edge at St Abbs Head, I took a pair of scissors and snipped the ends of some brushes to make them stiff and stumpy. It certainly made me think differently but frustratingly the brushes didn’t hold the paint efficiently despite giving me a different mark. I think in hindsight, this was a very simplistic view, if I changed the tool I would achieve the mark. Of course it is not all about the brush but how you use it!
I did like the marks I put down and could see they were expressive with more life and vitality. However they still didn’t quite tick the boxes for me. I wasn’t sure why or what was missing but I knew I had achieved a massive step forward that day.