Part of being an artist (or a writer) is to constantly challenge yourself and experiment, so that you don't stagnate. A creative person also becomes bored very easily so there is no choice. Even if you hit upon a style that is so popular that all your work is being snapped up, the sad thing is that you cannot continue with it indefinitely. Dissatisfaction will set in and before long the work looks forced. It's all about honesty.
I have decided to move back to smaller work for a number of reasons:
- Materials are cheaper
- Unsold pieces don't take up as much storage space in my studio
- I am more likely to sell it as it can be less expensive and also that it will fit in an average-sized house.
- The reason I started painting big in the first place was to get away from producing paintings that felt like illustrations and also to celebrate having space of my own. I think I have crossed a line with the last two paintings and have improved my style. Now I can go smaller again as long as I don't fall back into bad habits.
- The work doesn't take as long to produce so I don't get fed up with it after a year and it is more likely to be cost-effective. If a painting takes me a year to produce, I can't charge the equivalent of a 40 hr a week year at minimum wage. Most people cannot afford it. I have to be practical.
Despite needing to finish off my last portrait and work on the rewrites of my novel, I am also painting the middle section of my entry for the National Portrait Award (see above). It is a triptych and no, I am not sure that is the correct spelling. I am enjoying every moment of this painting but there is still a lot to do. I would love to get this one exhibited in 2009.
Today I received my issue of Paint magazine - the newsletter of the SAA. It described a technique I knew nothing about - adding water to pastel. I can't wait to try it. One way dilutes the pastel and spreads it around and the other way intensifies the colour. I think it will work very well with the Rochester scenes I am planning to produce at speed for our shop in the High Street Rochester.
I'm excited - it's a good feeling. Means I am not stagnating yet...