Is today the day art dies?

It’s been a weird week. I’ve struggled with tears at unexpected moments. Just an accumulation of stuff. So I just focused on my work. Went into the studio relentlessly. Because I know it’s good for me. If I don’t have studio time, things just get darker. Making a mark on a page or canvas feels like I’m moving forward.

I found two great sources of inspiration this week. And it made me realise, without experimentation, without learning new techniques, without trying things differently, things will never change. Art dies when we don’t experiment.

Tectonic collage by Yoyo Lander.

The first beautiful inspiration was work by Yoyo Lander. She has this incredible technique for collage where her forms almost become topographic landscapes. The contours she forms as she layers the form of her figures are beguiling and monolithic. Great curved-edge landscapes of love and emotion.

Detail: Have Tears Sometimes by Yoyo Lander

Nicola Moss fuses nature into her textured paper.

The second bit of inspiration was work by Nicola Moss, who’s exhibiting at Arthouse Gallery this month. Here stylised works are filled with this gorgeous texture, created from things like impressions from tree bark frottage rubbings and vegetable stains.

Since I’ve been in the States, I’ve been overpainting magazine paper with a thin colored glaze so the print still shows through. I love the idea of taking elements from the landscape and using these to infuse into paper, so the landscape becomes part of the final work itself.

Nicola Moss, The wait for planting day, paper collage, acrylic paint, mixed media on stretched linen, 95 x 125 cm

A creative leap in my own studio.

For my work, I’ve always wanted to be a bit looser with my work. I’ve always been envious of artists who deliberately destroy their work, make mistakes as a starting point for a greater work. My collage has been a big more regimented, planning shapes and contours, underpainting forms and working over these with collage.

Just stick things down and see what happens.

In the back of my mind, I always thought I was better at creating form without drawing. My scissors and fingers were better at intuiting shapes than a pencil or brush. So this week, I just starting tearing colors up and sticking them down. If I made a mistake, I could paper over it.

Studio shot from 57 Biscayne Artist Studios, Ray Monde.

It seemed to work. The angle on the flamingo ring was just right. Initially, it was way too small, but I could enlarge it and shape it, teasing it into shape. So I kept going.

The woman on the flamingo ring came together bit by bit. Layer upon layer. Her back legs need work to give the ripple effect of the water. I also thought she needed something to focus on, so she’s got a poolside cocktail to aim for.

Beach ball and stranger’s legs completes the picture

It was freeing to just stick stuff down. I think in the past, when I worked on flat color planes, if I made a wrong move on the paint, I couldn’t overpaint it as the collage would show an impression. With collage on collage, I can make as many mistakes and correct them as I like. I can be freer to experiment. And by experimenting, I’m giving my work the energy to live another day.

It would seem art, my art at least, gets to live another day.

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