Tuesday, November 15, 2011

challenging myself

watercolour on canvas
As an artist you will now and then feel the urge to challenge yourself more, to move on, to find new ways of working or new angles to your themes. Or that unique expression that is just yours? But how do you achieve that?

Jarl Ingvarsson, a Swedish artist, said in an interview I read years ago that his best impulses or ideas come when he has spent sufficient time in the studio to start feeling a bit bored. If I remember it right he said he then would be more free as he wouldn't care so much. He could do whatever. (this could very much be me making it up - in that case: Sorry)

Last year I listened to a great artist talk with David Batchelor (an artist I admire very much) and among other things he talked about how he got his ideas in his studio. His art might seem very conceptual, but studio work - or real life experience of materials - is essential to him. By seeing things in his studio piled up on a shelf, or a brightly colored canvas lying temporarily in a certain way, he got his ideas. Just by seeing things that might be by coincident, or seeing things with new eyes. (It's not "just" though. It takes a certain talent.)

I've lately been getting really frustrated in my studio because I felt like I'm not advancing, I need something more to my art to make it better and in order to get more interested in what I'm working with. In some ways I felt bored with it, even though I have had occasional moments of flow. A bit like; "yes, sure a nice painting ... but shouldn't it be more to it? The same thing again... Am I in the 19th century?"  For me frustration is good - if I have the time to explore it. I will go a bit wild then, more courageous.

Cutting things up can be a way - I tried it and laughed a bit, but felt like there should be more to it than that. Changing materials a bit can be a way. So I tried painting watercolor on canvas instead. And bigger. Didn't really do it, but I felt a bit better. Then I tried something else and got a fantastic surprise side effect. I'm very hopeful now. Could this be it? Tomorrow I'll get some advice from an artist working with glass - and then I'll hopefully know if I can recreate what I'm after. Anyway I'm on a new track now. I can feel it


Ana Gonzalez said...

The other day I walked into my studio with an idea, when I started to work, began to emerge ideas derived from the first. The mind works by association of ideas. So it makes sense that the more time you worked in the studio more ideas will flow. Or at least so happens to me.

gracia said...

I agree... the best things can sometimes come when you cast to one side all your ideas, research, and concepts, and just start making. Things come freely that way... and of course all the reading, theory, and ideas are in the work still, it is just they were not in the foreground when making.

Will have to pop back to see the image with this post... my internet connection is incredibly slow where I live... g xo