Friday, February 12, 2016

The Art of Play

I haven't been in my studio for a few weeks. There are valid reasons for this, but I wanted to show some of the last pictures I did before my hiatus. Not because they were great pieces - far from it, in fact, I disliked them immensely at the time. But because I want to demonstrate the art of play, or playing with your art, which requires a great deal of imperfection - I have to show you some things which might not be comfortable to view.

The benefit being, you can return to it later, and see the lessons behind each piece. There's a story to go along with these evolving pictures. I had some new watercolour tubes I wanted to try out, along with some cheap watercolour paper I got for Christmas. Cheap, being the optimal word, because...

First picture

It didn't take me long to realise, it didn't matter how much I wet the paper, the colours weren't going to bleed. If it looks like a mess, you wouldn’t believe it took me days to even get to the painting part? I spent hours pouring over pictures on the internet, to get a 1920's composition of a lady and interior decor, that didn't look like I took it from any one individual picture.

When I realised the paper was a dud, and I wasn't going to create the masterpiece in my head, I decided to try and experiment with different colour ideas and techniques.

It's a mess, yes, but it also made me realise, I like incomplete pictures, which are a little brave with colour and technique. When I realised I didn't want to play with this picture any more, I was going to pack up my supplies. But saw all that lovely paint still on my palette. I decided to use it up, playing randomly, with whatever came to mind.

Second experiment

This experiment demonstrated, the cheap watercolour paper wasn't entirely useless, if I loaded up the paint bush with lots of paint and applied it to the dry paper. Or, wet on dry, is the technical term.

The forms I could make sketching with the brush, required some confidence, but also the ability to work within mistakes. These images aren't perfect, but they're "like" enough to be recognised. I think I achieved much more movement in these simple piece, than the 1920's style picture which I tried to keep within the lines.

I also stumbled across the contrast of using warm colours (yellow/orange) with cool colours (blue/purple). Which I teased out a bit more, with some random doodles, with "plants" in mind.

Third experiment

This had bamboo as inspiration, but I added other marks and shadows, incorporating the warm colours into the cool colours. Giving it a warmer colour overall. But I also added some straight, cool colours in the background for contrast.

Having completed this experiment, I wanted to try the opposite effect...

Fourth experiment

This is a randomised plant in a pot, but I used more cool colours than warm. Instead of jumping out at you, like the bamboo, it creates an almost dormant effect, which wants to freeze on the page.

Again, I wasn't going for perfection, it was the art of play to see what effects I could achieve with different ideas. With all this in mind however, I thought I would try out one more piece. Only in Inktense pencil this time.

Fifth picture

I know, its hideous, but with its own story to tell too. Firstly, drawing within lines I've realised is my preferred approach - I feel most comfortable with this technique. However, it also stilts the creative process the most. To add movement to any picture, I have to be prepared to be more random and become comfortable doing that.

Therefore, more experiments like all the above. I have to be comfortable turning out pieces, that not only look flawed, but actually exploits the imperfectionist approach. Can I start a new art movement? Is "Imperfectionism", taken yet? Perhaps it's already covered under abstract art?

I think any artist who has created their own recognisable style, as distinct from all the rest - have challenged their own creative boundaries. Perhaps this is what we should all be doing?