NUMBER 23-ART THERAPY
"Art Therapy"(self portrait) 24" x 24", Acrylic on Canvas, 2009
I remember at the time I did this piece I was doing a bit of research on Art Therapy and I used myself as the model to depict the surge of hope and spark of life that Art Therapy can bring into an individuals life. The individual may be finding it hard to cope with various negative symptoms and experiences in life, but all of a sudden the individual is able to recover, reconnect and get revived through creating art, self expression and a renewed sense of belief in ones self through creative means.
Most of the strokes in the dark areas of the background in this painting are the negative words and experiences that I personally struggle against, while the calligraphic strokes in the brighter areas are actually positive, motivational and inspirational words that have helped me remain focused in the most difficult times and experiences in my life. It was the first time I felt completely liberated to introduce my technique of "calligraphic mark-writing into the drawing" in a painting. I didn't care what people were going to think, I said this work is purely about my experience and my life, so I am free to do what I want. For this whole piece I used the new Winsor and Newton Acrylic on canvas. I developed this piece with a "sketchful" force and tried to keep that vitality throughout till the end.
I actually did this work for an Exhibition called "Art Liberating Lives" - It was an exhibition organised by the Sue Ryder Care at the Mall Galleries -which was an uplifting and eclectic collection of works inspired by the theme, "Liberation". They were to use the commission on sold works to support the Sue Ryder Charity.
When the day of the Private View came up, the place was packed and everyone was out there being inspired by different artist's take on this theme. I was going to travel to Japan in a few days after the Private view and I knew I wouldn't be around to pick up my work if it didn't sell, but I was thinking to myself, "who would buy such a Self-Portrait and put it in their home?" The clock was ticking and everyone started going home after a great event and I still buzzed around with a beaming smile talking to artists whose work I admired when I lady walked up to me and said, "Is that you in that painting over there?". I said, "yes"-She asked if I could explain a bit about why I did the work and what inspired me. My heart was beating, I was like, "This IS MY CHANCE!" So I took a deep breathe and started mumbling the words.....I saw her eyes glow...she connected with it and said it costs a lot of money though...£1,250! I said in a low tone, "But it's worth it!"- She looked once and then twice and concluded that for her to buy it, I'll need to to do a demo of how to paint for her little 9 year old girl who loved art too. I said I'll do that with all pleasure, I told her I'll come over with my little boy too, and she agreed and that was it, the work was sold! I didn't need to worry about anything while travelling to Japan and when I came back I fulfilled my promise by doing a demo that they all loved, She hosted me and my son for the day in a stately house at Sevenoaks ans I spent the whole day having fun!!!
Looking back, I learned always do work that I connect with wholeheartedly, work that gave me a buzz and work that really makes me happy first! It's not always easy in these days of market and sales driven themes but I think its a good thing to keep being sincere to ourselves and our deep philosophy of why we do what we do. When it is done well-then others would connect to the work with that same buzz we had as artists at the beginning! I also learned that while at exhibitions, one has to keep a happy and cheerful outward appearance . Nobody is going to connect with an artist with a gloomy, shy, long or tense appearance.
NUMBER 24-EMOTIONS V
EMOTIONS V, Oil based pencil/Sanguine & Sepia dust, 8" x 10", 2009
This work falls into category of works I did when exploring peoples emotions when they are in different circumstances faced by situations that produce a kind of reaction from them.
The guy I used for the model here was one of the great buskers around, these are the guys that play on the trains and tubes to make music while the commuters drop a few coins in appreciation. I worked with him at St Mungos and he was very much interested in art too, he worked in coloured pencils.
I started this by ghosting the dust (sepia and sanguine) on self sanded-watercolour paper and then adding details with the oil base pencils and graphite(mechanical pencil).
This work brings back good memories because it was one of the only two works I was able to sell on Ebay. Ebay never did me much help but I got so much experience from working on a daily basis, something that instills discipline in to us as artists. Working to post daily never suited my style because to meet the deadline of the day, I'd have to rush some pieces which never gave me the satisfaction I get from working over and over again on a piece for days and weeks.
"Be guided by feelings alone. Before any sight and any object, abandon yourself to your first impression. If you have really been touched, you will convey to others the sincerity of your emotion." (Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot)