understanding creativity

the war of art, stuart bush studio notes, book review

War of Art book review

‘The War of Art’ by Steven Pressfield – book review At some point, most creative people realise that something needs to change.  The book  ‘The Art of War’ by Steven Pressfield, essentially it is a self-help book for amateur artists and writers battling with inner self-doubt and fear, to help them understand what is holding them back.   The highlight of the book for me was about learning to overcome resistance and ‘turning pro’ as the book inquires, “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… Read More »War of Art book review

What I learnt from Philip Guston, Stuart Bush Studio Blog

What I learnt from Philip Guston

What I learnt from Philip Guston, Stuart Bush: Studio Notes 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… Read More »What I learnt from Philip Guston

Dreaming about success

Dreaming about success Often when I turn on the shower and step in, I turn on a shower of thoughts and start dreaming. I’m not sure why it happens in the shower, but I think it is a favourable place to be flooded with thoughts and ideas. My mind also, unfortunately, wanders when I am painting. Over time, I have realised I have become a professional daydreamer. This is the wrong time and the wrong place to be dreaming about success and imagining the future. I feel the need to gain some self-mastery of my busy creative mind. I used to think dreaming about the future was my reward for… Read More »Dreaming about success

Stuart Bush Studio Blog, Adrian Ghenie, Nickelodeon, Adrian Ghenie: The fuel of failure

Adrian Ghenie: The fuel of failure

Adrian Ghenie: The fuel of failure It’s no wonder many people see failure as the most painful moment in their lives, school wrongly teaches us we need to do everything we can to avoid failure.  However, Adrian Ghenie makes it a central power source. Having to face humiliation and shame by returning to home to Cluj, Romania, after trying to start a new life in Vienna drove his artistic ambitions.  Returning to live back at his parents home at age 27 in 2005 he had no future to look forward to. However, Ghenie used his difficult set-back as fuel rather than limitation.   The fuel of failure is a common element… Read More »Adrian Ghenie: The fuel of failure

Stuart Bush Studio notes, francis bacon

What to paint – The recipe for failure

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 Studio Blog, Rebound from a failed painting, Law of the jungle

Rebound from a failed painting

Rebound from a failed painting 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.… Read More »Rebound from a failed painting

The ultimate experience - Crashing Wave, Mary Heilmann, Stuart Bush Studio Blog

The ultimate experience, Mary Heilmann

The ultimate experience – Crashing Wave by Mary Heilmann At the Whitechapel Gallery in 2016, many thoughts rushed through my mind the first time I saw the painting ‘Crashing Wave (2011)’ by Mary Heilmann.  As I looked at the painting it evoked a special moment.  I remember being out on my bodyboard on Manly beach, Australia, at complete peace with my surroundings.  The air was crisp, and the sun was bright as I pitched forward. I kicked with my flippers while paddling hard with my hands as I took off down into a crystal clear barrel wave. I rode the perfect wave, a foaming mass of white water.  The ultimate experience!  … Read More »The ultimate experience, Mary Heilmann

I love my work more than what it produces

I love my work more than what it produces

I love my work more than what it produces. I am happiest when I realise that there is something to investigate, something that doesn’t quite fit.  I love the slow development of an idea.  The slow convergence of thoughts that often come after a period of incubation. l realise then that there is a problem worth tackling, a problem that is going to become my muse.  It is exciting to think that possibly, this concept hasn’t occurred to anyone else.  If it has occurred to someone before me, they will likely approach it in a completely different way.   I love going deeper, I just follow my hunch and allow… Read More »I love my work more than what it produces

Stuart Bush Studio Notes, creative freedom

It takes discipline to have creative freedom

It takes discipline to have creative freedom I crave for life without physical, mental or financial constraints.  It has been my intention not to have limits on what I do, what I say or how I spend my time.  I want to make what I want when I want.  One of the attractions of being an artist is the concept of free expression.  However, our culture often wires us up to do what is safe and sensible.  In my experience, it takes discipline to have creative freedom.   Commercial art is a good, sensible way of making a living from art.  It has a project outline, a list of do’s and don’ts and… Read More »It takes discipline to have creative freedom

Stuart Bush Studio, paintings for sale, Isle D'Hollander, In and out abstraction

Isle D’Hollander – in and out of abstraction

In and Out of Abstraction There is something very solitary about Isle D’Hollander’s art. She paints modest and subtle paintings that float in and out of abstraction.  In this review of her exhibition at Victoria Miro in Mayfair, I want to discuss her work as she immerses herself in the now, and interpret the open questions she asks through painting.   D’Hollander’s paintings are like a form of mediation with the Belgian landscape; as she tries to capture aspects of the illusion we see.  The uncomplicated studies are painted from memory after long walks and cycle rides.  They have a tranquillity resembling the gently, rolling, green landscape. They are instruction us to be… Read More »Isle D’Hollander – in and out of abstraction