Saturday 31 August 2019 11am, in a room surrounded by my paintings in The Torrance Gallery Edinburgh, the feeling of completion finally kicks in. Looking around to see my paintings on each of the four walls makes me feel pride in myself which I don’t often feel. A year earlier these artworks didn’t exist, the canvases were bare, the frames were just lengths wood, the oil paint was still in it’s tube!
I really love a deadline to work towards, it gives me the focus and drive I need to blinker my creativity… I dawdle toward it at first then pick up the pace the closer the hand-in date gets – the paint flows more freely and like a cherry blossom coming in to bloom my paintings burst into life just in time for the show!
This exhibition wasn’t a beautiful smooth run to the finishing line though. During the time I was painting for the exhibition I had the regular life-work balance of my other job and being a single mum, I also boxed up my entire life into medium brown boxes and moved to a new home 100 miles away in The Kingdom of Fife!
My new studio has been my haven – it’s at The Fire Station Creative, a refurbished old fire station. Boxes are still unpacked at home but my studio was the first thing to be set up!
I did have a long spell of ‘painters block’ though… I simply couldn’t visualise my exhibition. I couldn’t get a feel for the general theme… the thread that tied the paintings together. Finally, my inspiration came from the thing I know lots about … me! This wasn’t a pretentious ‘all about me darling’ realisation, more of a simple bit of soul searching, thinking of the basics of who I am, what inspires me and what do I love and enjoy to paint.
With the encouragement and support of my partner, we looked at my older paintings, the ones from my degree show 20 years ago and the one that really stood out in exhibitions over the years. What was my inspiration and motivation then and how could I get it back?
The images and compositions started to flow, one painting inspiring the next. Life drawing, painting delicate skin tones, painting hands, painting feet, creating a sense of calm and contemplation. Looking at the cute little plants and my collection of oddities and painting fun little compositions, mixing oil paint to create lush lively colours and textures. The figures in my paintings are my friends and family and me too sometimes. I seem to pose my models with a hint of me mixed in with them too.
So, it turned out the simple inspiration of who and what I have around me is all I needed.
The simple inspiration was believing in myself and to focus on the feeling of belonging. x