The next Picasso or Braque will not invent cubism. The next Peter Blake or Andy Warhol will not invent pop art. And the next Jackson Pollock or Willem de Kooning will not create the Abstract Expressionist movement. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them. I realise that of the many successful artists following their path, Charline Von Heyl, has figured out the real definition of success on the canvas. Von Heyl understands how highly successful artists through the decades have been volleying the ball between themselves. In order to create a meaningful and significant occurrence on the surface of the fabric, like they all did, in… Read More »How Charline Von Heyl inspires me
When I hear a negative voice in my head saying, “I am in over my head, they are going to find out,” this little voice reminds me I am not good enough. It seeks to devalue my self worth causing me to underestimate myself. Then I come to the conclusion that l must be mad about choosing to be an artist. I realise that l have volunteered myself for all this self-doubt. I feel like l am pretending to be an artist. If l am not careful the voice gets out of control and my self-confidence is eroded. It is hard to break the psychological patterning in which I fear… Read More »Pretending to be a painter
The once traditional approach of cracking the art market by working the gallery and exhibition circuits, and applying for bigger and bigger opportunities, is no longer the only route to notoriety. The book, ‘Making it in the art world: New approaches to Galleries, Shows and Raising Money by Brainard Carey’, was written to give artists insight to finding their own way into the art world. Carey incites artists to raise their own money; build up networks; and bypass the gallery system in order to light a fire under their own career. I had the assumption, before reading the book, that it would tell me the same old things I… Read More »Making it in the Art World – A book review
To someone who loves art, walking into a gallery and seeing stimulating art is inspiring and uplifting. However, at times, it can be intimidating when you’re trying to emulate success for yourself. When Chuck Close started his career, like a lot of artists he was affected by the best art of the time. De Kooning became a massive influence on Close’s earlier work. De Kooning stirred Close into practising his style and technique. It all started so well. After several years, Close had De Kooning’s style and technique down to a tee. However, Close struggled when he realised that when people stood in front of his work, they thought of… Read More »What I learnt about process from Chuck Close
I dream of sitting in my dusty studio. I can smell the pungent scent of turpentine. I can see the photographs and sketches stuck on the wall. Devils Haircut, by Beck, plays in the background and newspapers, magazines and books litter the paint-covered floor. I have a primed blank canvas on the easel, all ready to go. I sit, staring and reflecting on what to do next. I wonder shall I draw or paint today? I wish there was nowhere else l have to be. I often only wish it was true; that I had nowhere else to be. The idea of being unbound by time feels like the ultimate emancipation.… Read More »Is time the artist’s greatest enemy?
Have you ever wondered about the best way to approach art-making? In Art and Fear, Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Art Making, by David Bayles and Ted Orland the artists and authors take on the challenge of verbalising the disquiet and unease of making art. It is somewhat comforting to read an artist talking about typical problems and how to overcome them. One of the memorable anecdotes from the book comes from a ceramics class. The ceramics class is put into two groups and are told they are going to be graded differently. One group is informed to produce as much work as possible, while the other group has… Read More »Art and Fear book review
In my previous blog post, I mentioned Michael Craig-Martin’s interest as a child in the shape and form of American cars. From a very young age, Michael Craig-Martin had the ability to identify every make and model of an American car. I found this profound because as a child I also had this ability, but with British cars in the 80s and 90s. This foundational understanding and appreciation of form is clearly something that many artists unconsciously encounter from a young age. This week l stumbled on a black and white BBC documentary about Henry Moore (1898 – 1986) and my appreciation of form was enhanced. In the documentary, Henry Moore discusses what… Read More »My thoughts on Henry Moore’s appreciation of form
I love what I do. I want to go to my studio every day and have a perfect day. On my perfect day I want to express something of significance. Once I am in my studio, my mind starts to make connections. By fostering a studio practice with risk-taking and openness, I open an infinite space. Every painting l create opens a new conversation about, What if? I like to stay open to the possibility of generating tension in my work. I don’t want to overthink what I am doing. Words have never been a strong point of mine, so l stick with making art to express myself. Words about sincere motives and… Read More »What do I love about being an artist?
At some point, most creative people realise that something needs to change. The book ‘The Art of War’ by Steven Pressfield, can help explain what old behaviours and mindsets are holding you back. Essentially it is a self-help book for amateur artists and writers battling with inner self-doubt and fear. There is a diamond of an idea about learning to overcome resistance and ‘turning pro’ as the book asks, “Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what “Resistance” is.” When I tried to read ‘The Art of War’ for the first time, several years ago, I… Read More »War of Art book review
It is well known that during Philip Guston’s career and throughout his life’s work, he toyed with two opposing forms of art. There was the figurative cartoon style of his earlier work in the 1930s and abstract expressionism in the 1950s. Philip Guston’s career highlights what he believed to be the central concern in the career of an artist. No matter what anyone else says or does, Guston believed that “A painters first duty is to be free.” Free to make their own choice, that is said, “unless you’re the kind of an artist that gnaws on one bone all the time.” After a decade of teaching Philip Guston became… Read More »What I learnt from Philip Guston