Overcoming fear by taking one brushstroke at a time I want to share with you, a story about how I overcame my biggest obstacle and my biggest fear. As I look back to when I finished my post-graduate course in Fine Art in 2007, aged 29 years, I am still surprised how naive I was. I thought I only needed to display my artwork in a proper gallery, it would be seen by someone in the know, and I would be an overnight success. How wrong can I get it! I realise there is no such thing ‘god’s gift’. Unsurprisingly quick success didn’t happen. Instead, shortly after graduation, I had a… Read More »One brushstroke at a time
behind my work
Pretending to be a painter 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 myself 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 a painter. If l am not careful the voice gets out of control and my self-confidence is eroded. It is hard to break the psychological… Read More »Pretending to be a painter
What do I love about being an artist? 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… Read More »What do I love about being an artist?
What to paint – The recipe for failure I remember just starting out as an artist, and I didn’t know what to paint. The choice seems so vast and momentous. I was often lost in thought as I was worried about making the wrong decision. I wasted a lot of time and energy when l should have just got started. Recently I heard this advice from Herbert Swope (b 1958) the editor and journalist, “I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: ‘trying to please everyone all the time.” Although these words of wisdom do not come from an artist, it… Read More »What to paint – The recipe for failure
©Stuart Bush, A section of ourselves as a commodified object, oil on aluminium panel, 80 x 120cm Often when a viewer looks at works of art they ask themselves, ‘why did the artist make this?’ However I believe that understanding the original idea or intention of my work defeats my ambitions for this artwork. Instinct led me to paint this painting. By trying to understand my instincts my aims are never going to be clear. Creativity is instinctive, and it is buried within me. I’m interested in this part of myself. I am curious about exploring what I am hung up on. I’m not in control of what comes out. Braque said,… Read More »A painting has to stand up by itself
I was taught at school that everything had to be right. I was encouraged to conform so that when I grew up I would make a good employee. Education was stifling. I was urged to aim for perfection; however, I was a long way away from achieving that. Sketching and doodling were discouraged, learning from failure was hindered. As a consequence, I had no idea how to rebound from a failed painting. When I started to learn to paint I use to stop, look and make a judgment about my progress. I worried I was wasting my time and making a blunder. I hated being wrong. It is a struggle to complete… Read More »Rebound from a failed painting
The need to make sense of this world through painting began a long time ago. The oldest known cave paintings where more than 64,000 years ago. Why do I paint? I feel a deep need to communicate something. Something I can’t put into words. Painting is my way of finding kindred spirits. When I look at art from the past, I realise I am not that dissimilar to my ancestors and painters of the past. Studying art from the past allows me to explore the many different ways that artists saw the world during their time. It helps me to broaden my perspective and understanding and allows me to see… Read More »Why do I paint?
I needed to find my new painting in my last painting When I started out and sought to develop my work into an artistic practice I often used to get very frustrated and disappointed when I felt I had made an unsuccessful work of art. As the piece was near completion judgemental voices in my head would take over saying, “this isn’t good enough,” “you’re not good enough” and “you’re never going to make a go of this”. But over time I have learnt that I need to find my new painting in my last painting. After a bad day in the studio, I use to stare at the canvas. I would… Read More »My new painting in my last painting
To achieve a successful painting like, ‘A section of ourselves as a commodified object’, I want to understand what it is I am really trying to make. I have a deep need to be creative and communicate something significant about what I see. I love painting, my ambition is to make the best painting I can make. For me, a transformative experience takes place at the level of the ordinary. When evaluating a picture, it is interesting to consider that the essences of the surface is a pattern of colours, lines, texture, forms and space. Shape and form fit into the frame, as the structure of the painting creates a visual… Read More »A section of ourselves as a commodified object
When I started out on my journey, like most art students, my ultimate goal was to communicate what I see. I was inspired by other artist’s work. As a consequence, I wanted to make my own significant contribution to culture. When everything has been done before, to have any chance of achieving this goal, I realised it’s important to understand how to paint something original and unique. In this post, I discuss what I have uncovered on my artistic journey. In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell explains his thoughts about his ‘10,000-hour-rule’ as, “the magic number of greatness.” Gladwell’s idea is that originality only comes after spending 10,000 hours mastering… Read More »What it takes to paint something original