work_in_process_pender island_artist_barbra_edwards
January 6 2014
New Beginnings

At the beginning of each school year there was always the excited anticipation of new books and scribblers. The paper seemed too perfect, too fresh to fill immediately with words. Then we plunged in and soon the scribblers were filled with assignments.

The act of painting has that similar anticipation as I face the white canvas, visualizing for a heartbeat what will appear, then letting go as the brush touches surface. I do a lot of thinking in the studio, not so much when I paint but it’s more to do with “showing up at the page”. My creative brain knows as I step through the door that it can run wild with ideas; as I prepare my tea, find the right music and mix the colour palette for the day. Many of these ideas never become paintings, others will resurface after months or years of simmering silently away in the background. I believe we are never in a holding pattern. I’m not always aware at the time but each idea, painting, series causes a shift or step in the direction I’m already going! 

I have been re-reading the book Agnes Martin Writings. I’ve been specifically searching out books or articles which interview living artists as I want to read their words, not someone else’s. There is such connection in reading what some of our ‘living legend’ artists experience in their studios and how they respond to their daily work process.  

Today, as I finish my day in the studio on the new series I began last fall, I’m spending time with several comments I’ve just read:

  “There is successful work and there is work that fails but all of it is inspired.”  Agnes Martin

 “I hope that I don’t have too much control, because mistakes are an essential part of everything I make. Many of the paintings are essentially mistake upon mistake. That is how they evolve. There is a lot of trial and error in the paintings”.    Peter Doig

2014 has the rumblings of new beginnings in the studio. Some days there is struggle, others joy. Happily I disappear into my other world. May each of you enjoy your new beginnings to this new year!

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