Good question. I still adore calligraphy, but when I felt desperate to do a piece of art without struggling to think of how to include text and what text to include, I knew it was time to revisit my fine arts roots.
Do not despair – calligraphic followers; calligraphy and words and lettering finds its own way in – but for the moment I have been touring the arts to ‘find myself’.
It started out as a five year plan in 2012. As a “child of the 70’s Abstract Expressionism” I had never painted from nature (other than our life model, a wonderful HUGE black woman named Dinah) – no subtleties of white on white there then; just glowing black skin with a host of lovely reflective colours. I have never done a landscape or a sky, but lots of hard-egded shapes then Pollock-style Abstract Expressionism, and no still lifes since first year. Lots of design though.
Now, four years down the line and I have done:
Loads of watercolour especially flowers, because I am so drawn to their beauty.
Printmaking – screen printing, Japanese woodcuts, lino prints – but like calligraphy, it is a harsh mistress with not much to show for two days of hard work. Do I have so much energy, for so much accurate registration?
Urban sketching – a solid 6 weeks of a-drawing-a-day and I still found that I loved intimate close ups, nature and not large public buildings. b.t.w.I sold my V&A sketch to a company doing a V&A promotion.
Although, I really like quaint domestic architecture.
Life drawing – Ahhh, I love this. I produced illustrations for two books – Rope of Words (highly stylised with text) and Dance (Chinese style calligraphic life drawing)
Books for child artists – as inspired by my granddaughters – colour theory and Uncials for 10 years and upwards.
and now – OIL PAINTING
And suddenly I have this sense of calm and this sense of identity. I know that I want to explore vases for a while and I know that I have a versatile medium to play with colour / pattern / beautiful shapes / and so on. I feel as though I have come home.
My little daily paintings will permit some playfulness and experimenting en route. My large vases can have gold added, woodcarving or pattern included. As a subject they can be elegantly African or traditionally Chinese. Oil paintings are saleable (and I do have to sustain myself as an artist) and they are fun. I can teach oils too. It’s my birthday soon and I have booked to go on a one day course with Sophie Ploeg on how to paint lace…
So please bear with me, continue to read my blogs if you are still enjoying them and we can all watch ‘this space’ together. I will always love letters and you’ll see how they find their way into my artworks.