I was just talking to my daughter, who is also an artist, about the importance of having 'fun' with your work. As children we learn a great deal through play and it is a valuable gift to remember when working full time as a professional creative. In fact many people prefer to remain gifted amateurs rather than to risk losing the joy of creativity because they 'have' to create in order to live.
When I was very stuck last year a friend of mine was talking about her work and said: "I do it because it makes me feel good". That statement helped to get me moving again. I had been agonising so much about the validity of my work that I had completely lost touch with why it was I wanted to be an artist in
the first place - painting was something I loved to do and it gave me pleasure.
But painting is aso a 'fix', a daily necessity which I think has much in common with daily meditation - it is all absorbing and focussing and you can not do without it for very long because one day, just possibly, you might produce something really good! Art is a never ending journey. There are always new places to discover. There are no limits of time or destination on this journey, other than those in your head.
Since Christmas I have given myself permission to really enjoy myself with what I would term nature 'portraits' or 'extracts'. First mountains and now three studies of beech trees, the first of which is above. I will finish the other two this weekend and post them separately. I love these elegant giants that are so much a part of the landscape of my Dorset home. I have often painted them, but this time I decided to paint the portrait of the trees leaving out their surroundings and focussing purely on their individual beauty and character.
I should say that I recently responded to a comment on this blog about realism in art, by saying that photo realism did not appeal to me and yet I suppose these studies have been much more realistic than anything I have done for a long time. The difference, I hope, is the way I have chosen to deal with the subjects - just using the elements of them that have most affected me. Photo realism while it can be very clever technically often leaves me cold. Somehow it lacks soul. It is the soul in nature that is what I am looking to draw out in all my work.