Why my art style is changing

Why my art style is changing

No one simply wakes up one morning and steers their art practice in a new direction, do they? 

My main interest, until recently, had been that of pursuing greater excellence in the narrative representational style of my previous exhibitions in New Zealand.

My Exhibition and Narrative Works

Where I diverged

I suspect my divergence is a process whose genesis may have been the unexpected death of my brother, Sam, who was only a year older than me. I felt the best way to honour his life, including the great tragedies he suffered, was to embrace, with more gusto, the gift that is my own life.  I resolved to forge a better one for myself whilst encouraging others to do likewise.

Saturday Morning FB Live

Soon I embarked on an almost year long Saturday morning Facebook Live video series, upstairs in the gallery of my business, creating the ‘Lauren and Paul’ work. I aimed to create a work redolent of important passions and interests of the couple, whilst creating a surrealistic painting. I loved the results and the FB Live experience was enlightening.

Why My Art Style Is Changing - Lauren And Paul
The 'lauren and paul' work

Business Pressure

As the pressure of running the business mounted, I played more with Inktense in the evenings.  I used archival paper rather than contend with the mess of creating handmade rabbit skin gesso I used for ‘Out of Hand’. The series, Minutiae, renamed ‘Wabi Sabi‘, were embellished with gold where I ripped the surface when removing making fluid. Then came ‘7 Days’. It sold immediately.

Prayer and Meditation followed by Play

‘Rhema Meditation’ emerged from prayer and deep thought, followed by the boundary-free period of making  ‘Rollercoaster I and II’. Next came  ‘Can Red Come Out to Play?’, which was more structured than the earlier pieces.

Click the squares to see works from the series

closing my business

After the close of my beloved business, the discipline of creating within the confines of circles, squares and triangles comforted me as I made ‘Can Blue Come Out to Play’. 

 Next, I arose to the 22 day challenge of daily paintings of ‘Southland Skies‘, the ‘Dansey’s Pass‘, and ‘Grebe Valley‘ works. I relished working almost simi-abstractly using impasto techniques.

Click the squares to see works from my Challenge

Journey to Nelson

Last year I journeyed to  Nelson to attend Majesty,  a faith-based workshop-weekend of contemporary artists, I learned about working in abstract from Amanda Watson.

Back in Southland, I finished the two cloudscapes from the viewpoint at More’s Reserve, and created two from the North Otago region.  These works, abstract and landscape, were displayed in the 2021 Dunedin Art Show. Abstract paper works sold.

Of my two Rahab sculptures, one was in the 2021 ILT Art Awards; the other at the Queenstown Recycle to Upcycle show.

Early this year I had a blast making “In the Pink”.  It was a celebratory set made after I shifted my art studio out of the lounge and into a former bedroom.

7 Days
7 days

Unframed works from Can Blue Come Out to Play, and Primal Play

Persistence is and being uncomfortable

My conclusion is this: persistently exploring “something different” over a course of four years produced a collective body of small abstract works. 

I chose to respond to extrordinarily uncomfortable experiences by creating something unexpected. Surprisingly, this relieved me of anxiety-inducing expectations. I embraced the unknown by pursuing the unknown.

This is why my art style is changing.

I boldly march into a season of remodelling and repairing my older home. Like opportunities sometimes do, this one erupted when my builder became available now rather than next spring.

Four new works have begun since the construction began. I can’t wait to show you my new home and my new studio works.

Your Turn

How have you shifted gears in your arts practice.  I’d love to hear your stories on this in the comments.

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