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One style does not fit all...

I have decided to show both realistic oil paintings and the experimental (semi-)abstract mixed media work I am generally known for at the upcoming exhibitions in Portsmouth Cathedral and the Petersfield Festival Hall.

I have been wondering whether anyone who knows my work would recognise my style when looking at my oil paintings - and whether it matters to have one style that translates across different media.

At the moment, the works look and feel very different, which is not surprising:

I am used to mainly working in an intuitive manner, building up different layers over weeks, months and sometimes years. I may have a theme I am trying to express or the theme becomes clear at some point during the painting process.

Learning to paint realistically has required a switch from a predominantly right brain to a left brain approach. The focus is on analysis, observation and working in a step-by-step, systematic manner. It is like putting together a puzzle; I try to problem-solve before I pick up my paintbrush rather than working things out on the canvas.

We are practicing our skills on still life arrangements, with 50% of the work based on arrangements provided by "Evolve". There is a little bit more "wiggle room" when it comes to putting together my own still life compositions.

I have always enjoyed showing things from an unusual perspective or an unexpected angle, and I have started to experiment with "fruit towers" in recent weeks, so some aspect of my own style is beginning to be revealed.

Another major difference between my mixed media work and oil paintings is the purpose of the work. When I work in an intuitive manner, it is often an act of meditation, contemplation and prayer, and I am trying to express things that are intangible and go beyond what is visible.

In contrast, the oil paintings are currently (more or less) recognizable representations of what is in front of me. I envisage them as "kitchen art". I hope my still life of a watermelon, mango and apricot brings a bit of individuality to a functional space. I


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