I think everyone has an inner saboteur, mine pops up now and again and tells me ‘what are you wasting all this time doing this for, you’re never going to get anywhere, you should just stick to graphic design and concentrate on earning a decent living.’ I just have to ignore it and carry on regardless and try not to worry about the outcome. I also get creative block sometimes, usually this is when a print or painting has gone wrong and I am plunged into confusion and self doubt. I have learnt that the only thing to do when this happens is to not beat myself up over it, it’s all part of the process and every disastrous painting has a lesson. You just have to pick yourself up and start something new.
I think being true to myself is important to me. I have to feel a connection to the subject matter. I’m not going to suddenly start painting pictures of Elephants for example if it’s not part of my experience at the time. If I were to go on holiday and feel inspired by Elephants I see I might or if it represents an idea or feeling I have in the right way I might. I also feel like you have to develop your own style and not emulate other artists too much. When I have been too influenced by a particular artist I have always got into a muddle. The only way to find your own style is by putting the hours in and being willing to take risks and try new things even though it might not always work out. Making art is a journey, you can’t skip stages, you have to follow your own path as it presents itself. When you see a retrospective of a major artist there are usually some rubbish paintings among the masterpieces, it’s part of the process.
At the beginning of 2018 I was all about the printmaking. I guess that was closer to my comfort zone as a graphic designer but I felt like it was taking all my energy and ultimately holding me back from reaching my potential as an artist so I decided to put it on hold and concentrate on the painting. I’m still going to dip into it now and then. I feel like I am in a development phase as a painter so I just want to paint as much as I can so I can improve my technique and also find out what direction I ultimately want to go in. I am also trying to get a bit more exposure in exhibitions and on social media and take any opportunities which come my way, like joining the hope + easel collective!