Thursday 3 March 2011

The Challenge of Change

© Early one morning 90 x 90 Oil on canvas

Psychotherapists and gurus of all persuasions regularly focus on our reluctance to change, even though we claim that we want our lives to be different: happier, better, more fulfilling.  Something isn’t working, change it and you’ll feel better. Sounds easy doesn’t it?

For most of us working as full time artists, I think the challenge of change is fundamental to our development. It seems to me that the constant search for new ways to express ourselves is what makes the journey so exciting, but at the same time, just as changing the pattern of an unsatisfactory life is scary, so too is taking a leap into the unknown in the realms of creativity.

When I started painting full time 6 years ago, I seemed to find a style and voice very quickly, using vibrant colour and focussing on pattern whether in landscape or still life. The work went well, I felt some satisfaction in what I was producing and quite quickly found that I was selling my paintings whenever I exhibited.  Then gradually, the initial interpretation changed, I became more focussed on the quality of the application of the paint and less on creating pretty pictures. 

Recently – as you have seen from my previous blog I put all the work of the last 6 years together in a book.  It seemed to me when I had done it, that somehow I was making a statement: ‘this is the end of an era.  It is where I am now but not where I want to be in the future’

At the same time I warned my followers on facebook that I was going to delete the page.  I wanted to give myself sufficient time to experiment without pressure to show off my work.  I decided I would not exhibit this year I just wanted to paint.  But while change is happening, the world doesn’t stand still and in the ‘sods law’ way of things, no sooner had I set out on this course than I had several invitations to exhibit this year and the facebook page … well, maybe I’ll re-consider!

But in the meantime, I have been working in a very different way, even though that has resulted in chasing paint around the canvas for the past two months. Journeying but never quite arriving!  I have been working from images in my head rather than from drawings or photographs.  I am relying on memories of how the light looks as the dawn comes up on the mountains; trying to keep the brush work loose and focussed without tightening up; restricting the colours on my palette.  At times this is proving a painful experience as the effect I am trying to achieve continues to elude me, but through pursuing this very different approach to my work I hope I will discover something with substance to move me on.


  1. Annie, Great to hear this. I went into the studio this year to paint for the first time in 6 or 7 years in order to paint large paintings. I love painting outdoors! I hate painting indoors! But I have to make myself grow in this direction and get through to another level. Before 2003 I only painted in the studio. After a number of years of painting outdoors I need to do this is the push. Good luck with your undertaking.

  2. Hi Annie - a namesake here. I've seen your work before and love it! Only just found your blog and as a fellow blogger, will be following yours with interest.
    Would love to own a piece of your work and will be in touch one day to ask about prices. Gorgeous colours and sense of movement.