Friday, August 19, 2011

The Art of re-invention

I don't know what to paint anymore.

There comes a time when you have to decide your artistic direction. I've had to re-invent my artistic vision a number of times in order not to get bored and complacent by doing the same old thing over and over again but with slight differences.

When I was young, my introduction to art was mainly through the works of Picasso. I didn't like a lot of his paintings and still don't, but what impressed me more than anything was his ability to look at things in a completely new way. He could play God by re-inventing the human form and smash objects to pieces and re-assemble them in new and different ways.  

The art of invention has always been my aim and I never really meant to get involved in realism (If you can call it that). You can look at photographs if you want that although I do realise that artists can put there own spin on a scene by moving a tree here a bush there and putting in a stream where it doesn't really exist.

I now consider my landscape phase as the phase where I learnt how to paint properly and to paint the things I knew. Now, I  need to paint the things that I don't know but the problem is I don't know what to paint. Puzzled? Well you can be assured that you are not half as puzzled as I am.

Does this mean going into the realms of abstraction? I don't know. A lot of abstraction leaves me cold. I want to be more inventive, I don't want to paint the surreal, I want to paint the next big thing (whatever that is) but I don't know what it is.

I'll let you know when I've found it, if I ever do, but at the moment I just don't know. The annoying thing is, I may actually do it and may not know that I have. I am certain I am not alone, most artists are curious and always searching. If not, they are stuck in a rut and should start digging their way out.

Must be time for bed.

If this post disappears and I start posting more landscapes on this blog. I have failed as an artist so, someone prod me hard please. 


  1. Oh yes, I can relate to that. I have a change of direction in mind myself...the north Norfolk coast begs me to paint it, instead of portraits and people pics. Of course I could combine the two!
    Good luck in your quest....not easy, I know.

  2. Sounds like a lot of soul searching is going on here! When I get stuck in a rut I used to trawl through my art books and old magazines looking for inspiration. However with the Internet literally dripping with creative content I look there instead now. How about taking some time out and treat yourself to some "play time" exploring other creatives work (both past and present) and see what inspires you? There's some awesome home made video's on YouTube of other artists really pushing the boundaries, or you could explore the depths of Wikipedia and study some the old masters. Some of the links on the bottom of Wikipedia entries lead to some pretty awesome sites that you wouldn't normally come across via Google. Please let us know how you get on - and good luck on your journey!

  3. Perhaps you mean you want to paint the fantastical but don't have an image to copy..? If so step one would be to find a way to find and assemble images to copy that suits your chosen direction.

  4. Thanks Sharon. Good luck if you do change, it's quite wrench from that which you may already comfortable with.

    Thanks Ian. Over the years I have done much of what you suggested. Trouble is I don't want to get inspiration from what has been done before although I do realise that nothing is really new, just a spin on what existed before. Think of what may have given Picasso his ideas when nothing like it existed for him to copy from except perhaps some African art.

    Thanks Mark. It's a hard one. I'm not sure about fantastical and I hope that I wouldn't be able to make an assembled image of what I'd like to paint. It would need to exist as an idea in 2 dimensions alone like the atom you were going to paint. I think.

  5. Hello John
    I know exactly how you feel.
    But you are a master of watercolour and that will always shine through.
    I must say I do like this painting which is quite different.
    This may be the style which gives you the buzz you crave for.
    I look forward to more of this.
    Chin up mate. You will get through it.
    All the best

  6. Thanks for your kind words Trevor, it was kind of you to take the time.

    I've painted and sold a hell of a lot of paintings in the past so I know I can do it. I know my technique is OK, I know I am quite a competent painter but I just don't have the desire to do it any more.

    I wish I could re-discover the excitement of trying out a new brush or colour and the possibilities they may bring forth.

    I used to love that funny fishy smell I got from wetting Arches paper. That was like cocaine for me.

    When I have a fresh sheet of paper in front of me I just feel nothing and want to back away.

    When I try to analyse my feelings I keep coming back to imagination. I used to have such a vivid imagination and could construct pictures and images in my head which I would then attempt to transfer to paper. All I see in my imagination now is black. Maybe I've used up my imagination allocation or just worn it out. The power of imagination is really important to me. I live more in my head than a lot of people.

    Don't worry I'm going to bounce back some time.


  7. Please hurry up and find out what it is you want to paint. It might turn out to be what it is *I* want to paint and that would save me a lot of the same soul-searching you're going through.

    Unfortunately, I know you can't come up with an answer to what it is that's stopped me in my painting tracks; only I can do that.

    Really annoying, isn't it/


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