I have started serious new work but am keeping it secret for a while.
Like everyone else with an iPhone, computer etc I have been seduced by the instant gratification of posting images on facebook, pinterest, instagram and twitter. There are so many artists doing this and many of them are interesting to follow, particularly in countries different to Australia which have a different aesthetic. There is a danger though I think to the artist, of putting work "out there" before you are truly ready.
The process for showing work in the past, - beavering away in your own studio, sometimes destroying work and then only showing your best, - has totally changed. Now, as soon as you finish something (in my case a life drawing) a sketch, an idea, or an experiment, you take a photo on Instagram without a thought. No wonder there is so much crap out there.
I am as guilty of this as anyone. It is fun! And ten minutes later you have twenty "likes" from all around the world. The sense of studio isolation is replaced by a sense of connectedness to others interested either in what you are doing (best case scenario) or in similar preoccupations.
For serious work though, the time factor, and the process of work developing over time is still the most important thing.
For me personally I am discovering I have to be wary. As I stated already I am keeping my new work secret for a while. It has been a big struggle to get everything to come together, particularly when trying to assimilate new influences, a new medium and technology. I liken the process to when you are trying to remember a name you have forgotten ( in private not in public) and you know the name is up there somewhere in your brain but you can't quite grasp it. If only you could reach up and clasp it but ...it ...is ...just out of ... reach... That is how I feel about the new work I am trying to do. I am motivated, I am inspired and I have the ideas but putting them all together is such a struggle it keeps me awake at nights. It is starting to work though and I feel all my hard work is about to pay off.
I know Monet said to a friend that when he finally got his garden going and his studio organised, he said
"Now I am going to paint masterpieces". I know I am not in that category but I do feel my best work to date is just around the corner...
With the experiments I have been undertaking it has been confirmed to me more and more that I am really a reclusive studio painter. I agree with Degas' remark that painting outdoors is a kind of sport. I can manage to draw or photograph outside or in a life session but setting up to paint must be done in my own private space.
I have no qualms therefore in making that space exactly how I want it, furnishing it like Sorolla's exotic studio. I collect images of artists' studios on my Pinterest site. (Another obsessive internet activity that I am addicted to)
So, even though I am not showing new work here, what I would like to share are my recent studio prop purchases. These have been acquired over the last six months and the plan is to set up my whole existing gallery as a studio, only open on Sundays and only showing my own work to those interested.
Antique hall stand for keeping hats etc for portrait sitters to play around with. I seem to be mentioning the word "play" a lot. Julia Cameron would be pleased.
Another antique purchase. This is called a Canterbury and I plan to use it for book display and various other arrangements.
Did I use the word "exotic" above? Let me introduce "Iris". She is a black panther, life size made of bronze. She will be keeping me company during my painting hours.
And meet Uncle Leo (named for his famous anatomy obsessed antecedent). I have done many drawings of him in my pseudo academic self study program. This has really helped with my portrait work.
This is Mr Muscles, showing what makes faces twitch. I have drawn him heaps also and ditto to the comment above.
I bought these little guys also. I already have quite a collection of porcelain dolls in the bedroom but these two are avid readers so must stay focused on the book shelf. No names yet sorry. Any suggestions? They are Bavarian.
I am also starting to collect fabric. These beautiful satins are from Spotlight. I have always loved the background drapery in Rubens and Van Dyck and am on the lookout for a big red velvet second-hand curtain.
Antique hexagonal mirror and Persian rug from an auction. And of course books, books, books and more books. There is no furniture as charming as books on a shelf.
I am looking forward to putting these things together in the studio, but for the rest of 2013 I am planning to rent out the gallery space to artists on a weekly basis. The new studio set up will be up and running in 2014 when I reveal the new work.
Meanwhile back to the secret paintings.