When I was invited to take part in this artists’ blog hop I thought what a great way of sharing ideas and building new links to other artists. You write briefly about the the person who invited you, answer some set questions and then introduce three other artists to pass the baton on to.
I first met the lovely Julia Elmore through an online challenge and was immediately struck by her seemily calm and gentle approach to creativity – so different to my usual frenetic ways! She has a broad way of encouraging creativity in your everyday life. I took part in her 21 Days of Creative Freedom course earlier in the year and enjoyed it as a way to get me over a creative hurdle as well as to feel part of a supportive group. You can read her blog-hop post here and explore her ideas.
Now ready for the Q&A….
How does my creative process work?
I’m still not sure I know the answer to that one! I usually start by collecting. Sometimes objects or found printed material, but often using the camera on my phone as it’s always as hand. Using the viewfinder to compose and re-crop allows me to play with different compositions. Often it’s colours or textures that catch my eye. These become starting points for drawings; the fact that the screen goes dead after a short period of time is helpful as you have to hold the image in your head. It helps me concentrate on the key elements I want to incorporate. I also use collage as a starting point and often do larger drawings or paintings and then use a view finder to cut them up and create smaller compositions as starting points.
Usually I start working on a piece with some kind of plan but once I get going that usually goes out of the window. It’s this balance between control and allowing myself to react to what happens spontaneously that excites me. It’s a balance that is easier in painting but that I still find hard in printmaking where you can be so driven by following a process.
I draw in a small sketchbook too; usually I draw things that will never translate into any finished work (people on the tube or at cafes) but the practise keeps me on my toes and stops me being scared of the blank page. Sometimes the tiniest sketch of an idea grows into something you never expect – and you never know which one that will be!
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My background and training is in graphic design and I think this comes through. Working out a composition has similar principles to designing a satisfying page layout. Design tends to be neat and tidy and I like to push against this with the more gestural marks as a contrast to some tight and precise marks – I have used printed elements such as the lines in dress making patterns as part of my paintings.
I’m also still drawn to letterforms and graphic shapes so these often appear. My most recent set of prints started by noticing the stonemason marks in the pavement – a personal mark hidden in an urban landscape.
What am I working on now?
I’m gearing up to do some large scale paintings. I love making prints but I’m yearning to do some work that’s more instinctive, bigger and with colour! These will be landscape in the broadest sense – a reaction to where we are. I visit Dartmoor often and find the space there enormously invigorating but I have no desire to make representative images of it. I’ve lived my whole life in London and find living here inspiring too. Perhaps I will find a way to combine both?
Even though I’m desperate for colour I’m going to start with some big black and white drawings, using ink and charcoal. I find working at a large size helps keep the marks gestural.
Why do you do what you do?
Being able to bring something into existence is magical. I love making things; transforming furniture, inventing and making costumes, changing things at home. But these things are just part of life. Making art is like putting a stake in the ground. Sometimes it feels like a personal indulgence. And so what. Without art I was lost and it gives me a chance to reflect and to consider how I view the world. What could be more important?
So, having answered the questions myself, I am passing the blog baton on… to three artists friends whose work or approach inspires me. They will post answers to the questions above on their own blogs next Monday, but please feel free to check out their creative output right now!
First up is Michelle Avision who is my inspirational printmaking tutor at Morley college. She also owns and runs her own print studio Slaughterhaus in south London. I usually only see the teacher side of her so I have enjoyed catching up with her painting blog from Scotland over summer. The video gallery on her site shows some footage of Michelle being interviewed where she talks about setting up your own residency structure and how she works in the open and transfers ideas back to the studio.
Next is Niki Cotton whose blog I found through a post she had a written about struggling to make changes to a painting and showed all the stages she went through. This side of creating art is one you never get to see in the finished works hanging on gallery walls and it takes a bravery to reveal it. Get to know the real Niki at nikicottonart.com UPDATE: Read Niki’s post here
And finally is Sarah Boyts Yoder who I discovered via Pinterest. She works in Charlottesville VA – the wonders of being inspired from across the pond! She uses bold painting and collages shapes to create vibrant works that play with colour, marks and composition in an exciting way. Take a look through her work at sarahboytsyoder.com and I promise you will leave with your fingers itching and feeling braver. UPDATE: Read Sarah’s post here.
And a sneaky extra bonus… I came across Amanda Foshag during #DrawingAugust. She is primarily a textile artist but some of her drawings are beautiful – take a look and see what she creates over on her Facebook page.
I am delighted that you all agreed to take part and I can’t wait to read your replies when you post next Monday. Thank you x