This week saw the start of being on the Contemporary Art Practice MA at Plymouth Uni. Most of the first day was about meeting others on the course and settling into making new connections; getting through that first and inevitably awkward few moments of learning names and introducing yourself. It was good and very reassuring.
This week has also been the concluding weekend of my first involvement with Art Trek, North Devon’s open studio event. The two events have thrown into sharp focus how I explain and talk about my work. As I prepare to present a proposal for what I will be doing on the MA course I am thinking constantly about how to say that. Speaking it out to total strangers as they came around my studio helped me to hear my intentions and to clarify this to some degree.
All this is done in the context of beginning to produce work that is perhaps new and fresh and that I am not going to force a perceived outcome onto. Bizarrely I pulled out a very old painting to work on today. I have the opportunity to put work into a chapel space in a school and am revisiting work that is nearly 10 years old. The work is reasonable but needs to be bought in line with the work I'm doing now. I suddenly felt very unhappy about just hanging the paintings as they were. It felt good to obliterate areas and extend others, to correct what I now see as errors that I did not see before.
Where will my work have journeyed to even in a year's time having been on the course? I can't fully know but working into these pieces today I know that it will have changed because I will have changed and it will benefit so much from me being able to discover and learn new ways to articulate what I am doing. There are things that I no longer do and there are aspects of my work that have remained, the desire to tell a story, to include some form of mark making, my love of colour…
For example the old work that I altered included the strong orange line that has become a motif in my work over the last year. This line which can be descriptive of both a journey through the plane of the landscape or the perceived energy and journey of the figure in a painting, caused much discussion during ArtTrek. Some had come to see the studio because of the image in the ArtTrek brochure that had a dynamic painting that included the orange line and these visitors were enthusiastic about the work, while one person found it disturbing because he felt it distracted his eye from the rest of the painting. What I liked was that it caused a reaction and for that reason it will probably stay in some form for quite a while.
Which other things will survive? What will continue to be included in the framework of my continuing practice? Only time will tell.
As part of my journey I want this blog to be interactive and as I know a few people read it I want each time to ask a questions of those of you who are producing your own work. If you feel able it would be great to have a chance to hear your ideas and insights…
So for today; What aspects have remained constant in your own work over the years that you have been creating art? And what ideas, concepts and techniques have you thrown out?
DESCRIBING ONGOING ART PRACTICE?