Returning from eastern Canada, I've just piled my memories on the table and am sorting through them.
This past winter I hit the proverbial artist’s ‘block’. I don’t remember ever having a block that lasted that long. It’s a soul-searching experience for an artist. I brought it on myself. There was a long list of what I wanted to achieve in the coming year as an artist. This was not about ‘maybe’s’ but ‘I will achieve’ this and that… fair enough until the FREEZE. Nothing was happening in the studio. Colours, canvases, brushes, sketches, photographs - nothing felt right. Nothing helped, looking, writing, numerous pots of tea, more looking and even more pacing. I had commitments and upcoming shows. I needed to corrupt my process, excavate fresh material, something had to shift!
I chose to escape and travel to Toronto and Montreal for some kind of cultural hit. I spent time with the very supportive people at my Toronto gallery, along with several of my artist peers. We talked about life, we discussed each others paintings, space, rhythm, line, in an non-competitive way. I wandered about Toronto’s vibrant art scene. It was good to see serious new creative areas popping up.
From there I spent solo time in Montreal, a favourite place where I loved living years ago. A teacher I’d had said the best lessons were standing in front of original art. So again, I spent time in museums (one of my favourites), galleries, but also absorbing the cultural differences on the streets. Canada’s art scene is very regional, it’s something I want to give more thought to. Both cities offered art that spoke to me and some that did not. All of it made me think about where I was at, where I was going with my own work.
Coming back to my studio I suppose a not-very-surprising thing happened. Looking around my space the sketches, scribbles, and ideas pinned to the wall that originally weren’t working, now were jumping for attention. Now they only need time to develop into the ‘something unique’ they were meant to be. They were part of a hidden story that wouldn’t surface. I simply had to step away to bring them into focus.