Perhaps every artist struggles with their personal identity. What is my personal style? What motivates me? Am I painting for myself or for my audience? Is there a right way and a wrong way, and which way am I?
Recently I promised myself that I would be more intentional in my painting. I would concentrate on the message I want to convey and the composition in order to convey it well. I would focus less on imitating reference images and be more loose, letting my painting take on its own life.
It turns out that actually sounds a lot easier than it is. I made this promise to myself about two months ago. Today was the first time I tried to live up to it.
The message wasn’t too difficult. I chose a topic that spoke to my own life.
Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
In our rushing lives, we all need a reminder to be still. But what does that look like? How would it work in a composition? How do I paint the concept of being still without creating something that looks forced and cheesy?
This is why it’s taken me nearly two months to start painting again. I didn’t know how to answer those questions. I still don’t really know.
An image flicks into my mind, like the half formed memory of a fading dream. It’s a ghost; I can only see it in my peripheral vision. Whenever I try to concentrate on the detail so I can actually draw it, it eludes me. I’ve been chasing it for a few weeks now. I’ve given up chasing. Today I started painting a ghost. I put down the first layer of something I can only see when I’m in not looking for it, in the hopes that it will take shape as I go. It’s going to be totally different from anything I’ve ever done. But, hey! You know how I love to experiment.
So watch this space. This may very well end up being a total disaster. It wouldn’t be the first time I painted something less than successful But it will doubtlessly be an interesting ride.