Sometimes the painting in my head just dances onto the canvas, a few brushstrokes here, a splash there, and I'm in love with the fresh, vibrant result. Here's one that took me an hour. (Crows and gulls, acrylic 30cm square)
I understood exactly what I wanted, the story behind scenes, the shapes, movement and light. I finished and realised there had been no 'pushing paint around' - I'd instead placed the paint where it should be first time.
Ah, if every day was this easy...
Well, if every day was this easy I wouldn't end up with paintings like this.
Not fresh, not lighthearted, a battle from start to finish - but I love it ten times more than the first. Its *rich* - at least for me! It took HOURS and hours and I lost my way all the way through. Is it because I lacked clear meaning for the painting in the beginning? Maybe... I got frustrated with myself trying to paint pictures of the sea because I'm Jenny Aitken and I paint pictures of the sea.
I read something that stuck with me the other day: trust your process. My process is - paint till the soul comes through. I've been doing this long enough now to know that each painting needs to have its own 'soul' for me to be happy with it. Sometimes that emerges immediately, sometimes its born through the painterly struggle. This one - well, half way through I stopped for an hour or so to stare and figure out what I was trying to say.
I wanted the antics and noise of gulls. (i tried painting them but no - not my thing.)
I wanted the brisk, salty sea in the air and the sound of the surf.
I wanted the amazing coastal comfort offered by a sheltered patch of grass amongst the gorse. Sit with me.
(Oh and I wanted the beacon - of course.)
A few other stories threaded in and it came together... after just a few more hours of carving and revelation via damp rag.
Why are some days so purplepatchy for painting? And some just ok, and then some... its like the art fuse has blown.
I'm trying to make sense of the patterns.
If I'm ill, or over-tired, painting is a completely foreign language. MUST REMEMBER THIS.
If I'm listening to music that doesn't particularly inspire me, the paint gets moved round the canvas like unwanted food. I can be quite picky, and I don't always know what the music should be.
If I'm in company, eg. with my girls, I can paint a nice pretty picture.
If I'm emotionally preoccupied - happily, sadly, angrily or whatever - well, it can go either way. If the energy gets channelled in the right way, the best paintings can emerge. If not, its back to paint-pushing.
If I'm feeling encouraged, ie by positive critique, feedback or sales, then good painting usually follows.
So - on my own, healthy and rested, positive, with the *right* music = good painting. Hopefully.
Sold two yesterday from Studio 61, including this one - Round the Cliffs, Bolt Tail. Must go visit the exhibition now its up - amazing to be exhibiting alongside Nansy Ferrett.
Now trying to focus on getting work ready for the exhibition in June at The Mulberry Tree in Swanage. Just got to wait till I'm well-rested, healthy, alone, positive, un-rushed and musically inspired. Hmm.
Here's some of the pieces I'll be exhibiting. Loved working alongside Nansy, can't wait to see how our paintings work together hung in the same dedicated space.
The first is the view east from the tip of Bolt Tail, in South West Devon. The cliffs are *huge*, full of fulmars and gulls winging about. Its the site of an Iron Age hillfort, and on a clear day you can peer west to see the Lizard in Cornwall. Its twenty minutes walk from the Hope & Anchor in Hope Cove. What's not to love.
This one is the gorgeous coastal path crossing the river by Thurlestone beach. There had been a landslip so it made our walk back to the Hope and Anchor a bit longer but the evening light all the way was divine.
You can sit on the doorstep at my friend Sarah Gill's house and look over the river at the hill and their lovely brown sheep. Its in Modbury, a little way from the coast and so peaceful, hard to imagine its the site of various intense civil war battles.
Quite a different part of the country - this is the path to Troutbeck, and a brilliant, friendly pub called The Mortal Man. Found ourselves there in the van one night en route home from Scotland. One of those gorgeous places that lets you stay overnight if you're having a meal. The walk was amazing, a glitzy moment of light cut through the wet weather and lit the hills and heathland.
Here's the piece I did yesterday, loved painting this. It felt very self-indulgent. It goes with the words of the blog post below this. Its the Dorset Coast - the distant monument being Clavell Tower which I really want to go stay in!! :) It was built in the early 1800's as an observatory, but has also been used as a lookout for the Coast Guard in the past.
I'm using W&N artists acrylics at the mo, and am loving their strength of pigment and texture.
Spring is my favourite time of year, getting outside as much as possible. Finding bulbs and azaleas through the thicket of ground cover!
About to let loose the ideas and pieces that are desperate to break out of my head. When I've got so much sometimes its better to start slowly, let the ideas form a little! Various lyrics and words swirling round in a Haiku fashion, shaping the paint. :)
Amazing week in Devon. Hope Cove is idyllic. The sun came out and we drank coffee outside in the mornings, walked the coastal paths and visited the Hope & Anchor :) I have tiny paintings of local scenes in Hope Cove gallery, they seem to be selling well! Some photos here:
Just wangled it so I can head down to the private view of the Artists & Illustrators annual exhibition in London. I'm exhibiting these three:
Painted that last one 'Just one more hill' over the weekend - whilst listening to Jesca Hoop who has the a *stunning* voice. Go listen. Standout album - The Complete Kismet Acoustic. Try Intelligentactile 101. Genius!!
Been doing unusual paintings this week. I had a commission from Massage Therapist Laura involving several different subjects important to her - wild swimming, dog walking, snow, rainbows, mother earth and obviously, hands. :) Felt like permission to doodle! Loved it!
Another new year. Am I tempted to plan the shedding of the dark things, the sad things, the difficult things, the unchangeable things and somehow be transformed into a perfect shiny thing...?
Well, not really, when I think into it. They're part of me. And they inspire paintings, music, and provide the deep shadow to the sunnier moments. Richness. So, just a bit of tweaking...been stalking Mr Alcohol Dependency with malicious intent and now is the time.
So much stuff planned this year! Lots of things art, music, challenge, festival and fun on the horizon: painting in Devon in February, McTears in Glasgow in February, Artists & Illustrators Exhibition in London, April exhibition at Studio 61, teaching art to the Alderney Art Club in May, June exhibition at the Mulberry Tree in Swanage, and various art workshops, the first of which is next week. Gotta bake some cake!! Also starting my next commission tomorrow - a 120cm oil of Llandwyn beach in Wales. Yes please.
Here's a lovely little painting by my very good artist friend Nansy Ferrett :) We are teeny, and the universe is huge.