Make A Mark

“Make a mark, just to get rid of that damn blank whiteness confronting you. Make a mark and then hope something comes to you – a feeling; a memory; a scene- something. She won’t paint, can’t paint, if she doesn’t feel anything.

She’s thinking too much. She can’t , or she doesn’t want to think when she paints. She just wants to feel it, whatever it is – the remembered experience, the feeling, and of course the paint itself, the brushes and the movement (her body). Good or bad, it doesn’t matter; it’s about feeling something. Not feeling anything is the worst. She can’t paint then.”

                                -Robin Lippincott, Blue Territory

Waiting,  acrylic, plant ink and textile on canvas, 36” x 48”, 2018

Waiting, acrylic, plant ink and textile on canvas, 36” x 48”, 2018

This is one of the the last large scale paintings I made in 2018. Last year welcomed a big shift in my art practice. I had my work both plagiarised and was accused of plagiarism myself, and after the dust settled from both of those experiences it led me to one realisation - that there are a lot of people working in a similar way to how I was working. And I’m not here to make trendy work, I’m here to make honest work.

This led to a lot of experimentation with how I wanted to push myself as an artist and explore my work in a deeper way. The thing I kept coming back to is what has always drawn me to painting - the language of paint itself. I am fascinated by the way different marks interact with each other – large wet pours, bold brushstrokes, elegant lines. So I started considering the idea of paint and language together. I’m incorporating brushstrokes that I’ve learned through my calligraphy practice as a way to explore literal language in my work through paint and to allow for more movement. I’ve also made a habit of engaging my voice before I start painting as a further exploration of language - once my surfaces are prepped, my colours are mixed, and my studio is all set up for painting I spend a few minutes reading poetry out loud in order to both engage with language before I start painting, and to help get me into a flow state. You can see this process in my latest Instagram video, which I will be sharing on my website as well next week. I am continuing to use textiles in this new body of work which is something I’ve been doing since 2013 and still feels relevant to me. I am interested in the tactile qualities that are generated through the combination of fabric and paint, and how to reconcile all of these disparate elements into a cohesive piece. There is a story behind every fabric, and my work tells this story as I see it.

This new body of work in progress feels much more specific to me, and I am so looking forward to going even deeper with it in 2019.