After getting so hung up on my last piece, which took a long time to finish due to me being too precious about each step, I decided it was only right for me to break out of that habit and start something new. Something bigger. Something landscape. On plywood, as opposed to MDF. And to enjoy the process of making without worrying about 'ruining' the piece.
Also, my friend Ellen who studies photography here at Falmouth came to my studio space last week to take some images of me working for her project titled 'Comfort Zones'. It's rare to see photographs of me actually at work so I've put these below. I love them. She's incredibly talented.
I walked to pick up some boards from down in Falmouth and carried them all the way up the hill to the Woodlane Campus. These boards are almost the size of me (I'm only petite) so trekking up the almost-vertical hill in torrential rain and wind struggling to carry the boards must have been pretty comical to watch.
Regardless, I somehow managed to get back to my studio without the boards and I being blown away by the Cornish wind and primed them straight away ready for the next working day. I often procrastinate before starting a new piece because I'm a massive perfectionist and a blank canvas (or board, rather) is often daunting. Prepping everything before the new studio day meant I was ready to get stuck in straight away...
Perhaps it's because I've had more time to allow my ideas to make sense in my head since I began my last large piece, but putting my thoughts down with the paint seemed much easier with this one. Or perhaps it was because I've finally got rid of the mentality that prevents me from making creative leaps without worrying about the final outcome. Either way, the landscape in this new work started taking shape rapidly and I was happy with how the piece was progressing.
Since I did the paper cuts I have been trialling various ways to fit this new media into my pieces. At first, I tried simply laying them on top of the paintings. It didn't work. At least, not for me. I wasn't satisfied with how the paper cutting and the painting seemed like two separate works; I wanted them to become fully integrated with each other.
My friend Will, who is also a painter, uses a lot of texture in his work. The canvas is not a limitation for him; he builds upon it with pieces of cardboard, tissue, empty cigarette packets and discarded rizla papers, then paints on top of this extended surface. He suggested I use the paper cutting as another layer and paint back on top of it, using it as a texture as he does in his own pieces.
I gave it a go, and lo and behold, I was impressed with the outcome. I peeled part of the map away after painting over the top to reveal previous layers, scratched some layers of paint off of the top to reveal the map details in some areas and also simply left the painted-over cut out as a texture.
I'm finally feeling encouraged again with the direction my work is taking and I'm excited to build upon these first few pieces to make them into a proper series of works. Two weeks to go until the month long Christmas break and I've never been more keen to make the most of the rest of my working time!