When I studied art at University, many many years ago, I had to write an essay using the title ‘Why I do ART’. I found it a very difficult question to answer back then and in some ways over 35 years later, I feel the same way now. I regularly ask myself ‘why do I do art?’ and it’s a deeply personal answer.
I first discovered my love for art when I was a child and I realised I preferred to be alone creating in my bedroom, a solitary pursuit back then as now. Today, hours and days are spent in my studio painting alone with only my cat for company, fed occasionally or brought coffee or wine by my husband. Removed from any social activity, with music playing sometimes loudly and sometimes softly – usually the same tracks and playlists. The process is also usually similar – I stretch and prime my canvases with gesso in advance then when I feel the creative urge start to take over, my feet and hands tingle and my solar plexus does somersaults, I know it’s time to start the exciting process of art and begin to apply paint to the chosen canvas.
I am addicted to art. I absolutely love colour and texture, it is at the core of all my work whether an abstract, nude, female face, seascape or landscape. I work in various mixed media including oils, acrylics, charcoal, inks and I incorporate many textures and glazes, sometimes I play with collage. There are usually about 7 layers to my paintings usually beginning with words and impulsive brush strokes. There are also many ‘under stories’ which are the parts of the painting that only I know about which could be my own poetry or something I have heard and noted in my sketchbook. I use bold colours and brave brushstrokes with paint spatterings and drips, sometimes I feel loose and free and sometimes I feel stuck and tight and need to work through a difficult area. Decision making is a large part of painting and sometimes I make good choices and other times not so good, but I trust in the process and the final outcome is always satisfying as I can only say the work is complete when it feels so.
My addiction to art also includes ‘chasing paintings’ where my husband and I go in search of galleries worldwide to see one specific painting exhibited. I read books and study other artists, I watch documentaries, films, and listen to podcasts – my every day life is filled with art in some form or another. I crave art and could not imagine my life without it.
In essence I do not believe there is one short answer as to ‘why I do art’. The answer is multi faceted and is difficult to articulate simply. I do art because I believe it is what I was born to do. I AM an artist. Every painting captures elements of my life and my thoughts, every painting is a wonderful journey of ups and downs and helps me to clear my head, escape from the internal dialogue, make sense of difficult situations, it is like a meditation in movement as the process of making art is like an outer body experience where time is lost and the flow state is extreme and nourishing.
But I also make art because to create is a great joy and art is a great connector of the human soul. Anyone who has connected with or purchased my work always comment on the vibration of the piece and how the energy changes in the room where it hangs. So many of my paintings now hang in beautiful houses and offices all over the world and I am proud to have created something that will eventually outlive me.
So put simply, I guess the answer for me is because my life without art would be intolerable, without colour, without excitement, without stimulation, without connection – so the question should be ‘how can I NOT do art?’ I mean, just imagine life if there was no art?…….