In 2017 I started to explore how to approach my art in different ways and how to use a limited palette. A few times I tried to use both my oils and charcoal in a painting. But I struggled to achieve the required results.
As artists we need to talk and share. I usually do that, even to my own demise. Its important to attend courses and try new things. We should not get stuck in doing the same thing over and over. Then I might as well go back to my ‘normal’ day job. Its because of the artists that cross our paths that we grow and learn, if we are open and receptible to it.
Ruth Walter is a Clarens based artist. I have attended her portrait workshop twice. Both times I have felt invigorated and refreshed. My head in a space where I feel I can create. These courses are a must and I am already looking for a chance to escape to Clarens this year.
As part of my discovery process I decided to do a landscape course through Dee Donaldson at Studio 3 in Durban. It was a complete new environment. Surrounded by new people. Day 1 and 2 was great, my landscape was good, and nearly finished. But I knew, that I can do this at home, I had expected myself to have this breakthrough, but I opted for the safe route. On the third day I mentioned it to Dee in the morning meeting. I was disappointed in myself, I knew what I wanted to do, but just couldn’t go there. Scared to jump. Scared to do what? Sit with an incomplete landscape? I knew even if I ruined it, I would still be able to fix it again.
And then Dee jumped in. The result speaks for itself. It’s darker, it’s a combination of oil and charcoal, painting and drawing. What an eye-opening experience. Dee laid the painting down on the floor, half wet. She took the charcoal powder, threw it over the painting, and the rest is history. When the charcoal touched the wet oil paint, I saw something happening that I liked, no, that I loved!
In that moment I felt so many different emotions. I can never fully explain what I felt. Utter happiness. Guilt. Almost crying. Amazed. Ecstatic. Over joyed. Fear. I loved it, I loathed it. I was confused, yet everything made sense. I looked at it and saw something I have tried to get in my work but never could. It’s a feeling I will never forget. Letting go. There is a darkness in these landscapes, almost a printing/etching quality. And here I am painting, drawing, trying new things.
So yes, at this stage to achieve these result, I need to paint a pretty landscape, and then go in and destroy it, in a sense, and then from that stage build it up. It’s an emotional journey. The process is almost more important than the end product. I find myself not really knowing all the steps. Feeling my way through it. It makes me feel something that I have never felt about my own art…