Painting Towards my Own Death

Do you ever feel like you are following a formula or set of predictable steps in your work or life?

Like a dance routine that initially excited you, with repetition, what once seemed successful or novel, becomes ho-hum.

Lately I have challenged myself to get more embarrassed, uncomfortable, even scared - to stop using familiar methods and rather to explore uncharted tracks, that possibly lead nowhere in particular.

To do this I simply asked myself ‘how would I create art, if I only had a year to live?’ 

Instantly my mind was flooded with unexpected and exciting ideas that didn’t suffer from my usual restraints or limits.

By shifting my focus I felt free, even compelled to make paintings in a multiplicity of ways. Old habits seemed irrelevant to the more pressing purpose of not half-living or holding back.

These new paintings of Angophora on the shore of Glenbrook Lagoon are part of this story.

They reflect a complex, dynamic and playful process in which I am seeking connection with the physicality and spirituality of painting and place. I am striving to represent the landscape with marks that feel authentic and sufficient - to encapsulate mystery, emotive nuance and recognisable forms. 

When drawing at the lagoon some weeks ago I noticed that the charcoal marks I made while not looking at the paper, felt and appeared more intrinsically true. I became fascinated by how these unconscious lines seemed to suggest more accurately, my experience of being in that place. So you may notice that I have incorporated ‘blind’ charcoal drawing into these oil paintings and as I’ve worked on them, I have constantly questioned my beliefs and assumptions about my process, as though painting towards my own death.

On my studio wall I have written ’NO RULES’ and beneath it, ‘NO FEAR’, as creating in this way takes courage and audacity. Just like dancing new steps.

I invite you to join me... let’s create, work, love and play as though we only have a year to live... with passion and clarity of purpose. 

Tree Spirits, Oil on board, 30 x 30cm

Tree Spirits, Oil on board, 30 x 30cm

Standing Firm, Oil on board, 30 x 30cm

Standing Firm, Oil on board, 30 x 30cm