As the weather turns cool this week, I feel invigorated and eager to start new projects. Working on my recent series of water lily paintings has convinced me that working in a series am a good thing. Now I’m in the process of thinking about what to paint next.
I have several paintings that I’ve made en plein air around Columbia. Although I want to use bold pure colors and distinct brushwork, I don’t always succeed. When I paint outdoors, I use small boards, usually less than 11×14” and tighten up with small brushes. Too often I find myself using dull colors or putting in too much detail. I let myself be confused by reality.
For my next series, I want to make larger pieces, using plein air studios and other references, while focusing on the Fauve style. I’ve selected this piece as a starting point because rivers and bridges are emblematic of Columbia and the colors make me happy. I’m still trying to decide what variables to keep the same and which ones to change. I expect that each piece will tell me what to do next.
As I was writing this post, I took time out to attend Trenholm Artists Guild and hear a lecture by Susan Lenz. She talked about how to finding inspiration is easy, but can be overwhelming. The question is how to use that inspiration. How to find your own voice? Susan suggests using stream-of-consciousness writing to think about what you want to say in your art. Words are very important in establishing the intent and direction. But they must be your own words. She says that we must “stop looking for your voice, and start listening for it.”
This is what I’m trying to do in developing my ideas. I’m using writing exercises to think about my art. I’m collecting inspiration from here and there and reassembling ideas in my own way. Writing this blog also helps me with that process. As I try to find words to guide the development of my art, I’m also accumulating words to write an artist statement about the work when it’s completed. So the process is circular, and the words and images must mesh together to form a complete body of work.