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Treasure hunt

Today's blogpost was meant to be posted last week, but it only got written in my head because I was spinning too many different plates...

I have continued to ponder the differences between the painting approaches I am exploring. For me, realistic oil painting is currently a very sophisticated version of "Painting by numbers".

As a teenager, I used to get oil painting kits with a pre-printed image and numbered colour fields. All I had to do was paint each section in the colour associated with a particular number for the final image to eventually emerge.

In the Evolve course, I now have to figure out my own colours and the shapes and sizes of each section, but I have a roadmap of how to get to the end result. I also know when the work is finished to the best of my current ability.

In contrast, intuitive painting is like a treasure hunt, where clues can be found it all kinds of places. It appeals to my divergent way of working.

I tend to only show a finished project, but today I want to share a project that is very much in embryonic form.

It all started with a sketching morning that was organised by Petersfield Arts and Crafts Society at Durleigh Marsh farm. I decided to combine the sketching with the last challenge in Louise Fletcher's free "Find Your Joy" taster course. We were asked to create a piece of art using a specific number of tools and a limited number of marks which had to be made in a particular order. I was intrigued by the trees, which seemed to have such different personalities. I wondered whether and how they were connected with each other and the rest of the landscape. I used pages from old journals as my collage material and came across a question that I have pondered since: How can I express the wonder I feel when I am looking at creation?

A few days later, Catherine Beale ran a workshop on working with line and wash, and I decided to paint the ruins of Waverley Abbey with the Yew Tree, which has been voted the nation's favourite tree in 2022. I can understand why. To me the tree has a tangible timeless presence...

I have continued to explore how to depict something beyond what can be seen, still mainly using fineliner and watercolours.

I am not sure whether watercolours are the right medium for this project, whether and when it will grow beyond the embryo stage and what the final painting may look like. Maybe the work will simply remain a meditation aid.

When I paint intuitively, scripture verses often come to my mind - and the one connected to this project is about trees clapping their hands. It makes me curious about whether and how nature may worship its creator...

NB The pumpkin painting was finished a few days ago though I discovered that I had jumped the gun and was meant to do a coloured oil painting instead. (I had not read my instructions because I thought I already knew what was coming next...)


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