What to paint? Can an artist rely on inspiration alone when faced with a blank canvas? Facing creative challenges is part of the deal when choosing art for a career. The secret is not to overthink it.
I have been working on a series of paintings inspired by the approaching summer. Although I have always been too impatient to paint similar scenes in a series I find that I am enjoying this recent spate of summer inspired work. Very strange! No really it is for me and that is why I have been sitting at my desk today looking at these six or seven paintings wondering what has happened. Where did this creative burst come from?
For one thing I know that I am more conscious of time. Not to bring you down or anything but recently there have been people close to my family that have passed on. I have also lost my faithful ridgeback this week from old age. I miss having the old guy around the studio. Truth is painting is a therapy too so this probably explains the need to paint fast and loose without questioning the subject too much.
Looking at these paintings makes me realise another thing too. Although I love painting country scenes, light in trees and our veld - deep down I am a coastal boy at heart. There is something about the sea and sand that is simply within my understanding. I can sense the sand, salt and wind. I know that feeling when I paint these scenes. They are not contrived. It is real. I think there is much more to come on this subject before I turn to other painting topics.
Back to the subject of inspiration and time. Inspiration happens when I work. Sure I get ideas, but inspiration is what gets my hands dirty and things happen. That is when the idea taps into the infinite well of inspiration. Too much thought hinders inspiration. Get painting. The first painting may be a warm up. I scrape it down and start again. Never walk away from the failed painting. It is simply part of the warming up process for the main event. Then crack on and paint until exhausted!
Time is a damned liar! It fools the young into thinking there is plenty still to come. It taunts us when we get older and dares us to think we can cheat it. No there is only one moment and that is now. If we use this moment then we can call it even. So I cannot overthink my painting and dwell on what should be done. I know what needs to be done. I have to get on with it.
We all do.