I have been doing a lot of introspection these past few months, trying to understand why I make art. It’s a simple enough question to ask, but in my case, I thought it was an especially difficult question to answer. I just make art, it’s what I’ve always done. Full stop.
In order to try and figure out what your artists’ voice is, you have to have some sort of definable vision. Work created has to be a reflection of that inner consciousness. You are trying to make stuff that is familiar to you, visible and understandable to people around you. Previously, I never stopped to think, when I started working on a piece of art, what I was trying to accomplish with it, what was I trying to say? This stems from my almost total lack of self-confidence or belief in my own self-worth (another story). I have never considered what I wanted to paint or try to say was important, or had any meaning at all, other than the finished piece made me feel good (or not, depending on the fight I had with it).
I have been on a lot of websites lately that try to pin-point how we define commercial or creative success as artists. It’s nice if we sell paintings or obtain recognition from our peers but that’s not what drives us as artists, it’s not the thing I set out to do when I begin a painting. I don’t stand there before I even start and say to myself, ‘Alright, how much money could I make from this thing?’ I don’t think about that at all, I never have and I doubt I ever will. I think it would be the death of me as an artist if the single most important aspect of my creative life was to determine how much money I was going to make from that day’s activities.
I have tried to think if there is one single type of art that I do that readily expresses my personal artistic vision and is relatable or engaging to a broader audience. I tend to flitter about a lot – and that is no help – however, lately I have come to realise that my strengths lie in a particular style of work that I do – landscapes using soft pastels. More and more, it is becoming a genre that I want to stay within.
Whilst thinking about all this, I hurriedly wrote down the following paragraph:
I capture essence, light and the emotion of a scene. I am not concerned with the minutiae of reproduction to create photo-realism. I want you to feel the place, smell it and touch it. I want you to be with me in that wild space and absorb its peace. In so doing, I hope that you will protect and nurture it, with a fierceness that is contagious.
For now, I think that sums it up.