My painting style has evolved as I found a freedom in the interpretation of the subject that I hadn't encountered before and I think this stems from investing all my energy into the sketchbook before I even thought of making stand alone pieces. Always adhere to established working methods as it gives the best results.
Ideas are there for us to discover, if we can see them, if we know where to look.
1. Brick dust over everything. Building work at home 2010. Random marks on surface of kitchen appliances reminiscent of organic shapes, animals, birds.
2. Lunchtime doodle in a notebook, scribbling for the sake of it. The shapes are organic and grow on the page. Currently reading "Lifetide" by Lyall Watson. There is a quote on the beginning pages:
Sometimes ideas connect, breed and grow, transforming into something new.
3. & 4. I decided to use the unusual shapes in the dust as a starting point for a new series of‚ abstract‚ work and, wanting the shapes to be more sophisticated than my doodle, begin to sketch out lifeform shapes.
5: Collage is the next step to further realise colours and the composition of larger pieces - I have enough shapes for 12. I want rhythm and a connection between the shapes - "the one common flow".
6: In the final paintings (four so far) I reinterpret the colours of the collages.
Ideas, sketches, notes. The process continues - ideas come and go, even those that are noted down sometimes don't make it any further than the initial scribble. A re-evaluation of all things creative - any actual direction up for grabs. More wildflowers? A series of floral related images using ink and gouache? Take the 'Garden Birds' series forward? Progress the sketches from recent figurative work? Invented landscape using collage and then larger paintings? Large minimalist charcoal drawings from photo reference? Large charcoal drawings of guitarists? I have too many ideas, some more commercially viable than others - perhaps this is my work for the year or longer as I want to make them all.
I’ve had a busy time the last few weeks but it's time to get back into the studio.
My garden is often a source of inspiration. Having noticed a decline in the number of small birds visiting recently (which has been widely reported) I set about making some scribbly sketches with a view to reinterpreting them as larger pieces. I found they naturally fell into seasons depending on the coloured background - the blues and purples referencing the colder months, yellows and greens the warmer. I think the deep reds and oranges are Autumn. Simple colour psychology.
I wanted the simple bird shapes to denote the absence of the bird rather than a presence - a ghostly silhouette. There is also a fox that makes an appearance but he too has been absent.
My art show at The Atrium Gallery has been booked for two years. It's difficult to obtain premium space to exhibit art in the Leeds area so I'm really pleased and grateful that the selection panel at St. James's agreed to show this series.
Due to the nature of the venue there are restrictions on the type of images that can be displayed, so no sex, glamour, religion, violence, death or politics. Fortunately at the time of submission, I'd been working on some very colourful, optimistic flower images.
Upon securing the exhibition site it was decided that I should work towards filling the space with images based around the initial idea. So making larger versions of the initial six that were chosen to publish as greeting cards seemed a logical step.
The larger paintings took six months to complete, each one in succession. Some are truer to the original sketches than others but the fact that I was using a different medium - acrylic - meant that the colours probably wouldn't be as intense as the originals - oil pastel and crayon.
The smaller paintings followed and I was keen to capture the looseness of the scribbles that I'd drawn which reference the original series. I'll have the notebook with me at the Private View on 7th August so that I can demonstrate what I'm talking about. All in all a busy 18 months so I'm hoping the show will look as good as I think it will and be good publicity for Yorkshire Cancer Centre. Let's hope we can raise funds for a much needed cause (25% commission from my sales will go to Yorkshire Cancer Centre).
Write (and therefore blog) to better understand the process of your own creativity say those who know about these things (and you may sell more paintings). It may prove that I gain insight but I'm aware that what I have learned may be specific to my own endeavours.
And why write anything? Is it not better to let the work speak for itself? As Mr. Hockney said, " It is very good advice to believe only what an artist does, rather than what he says about his work", but admittedly this was in pre-blogging days.
I've gone through notebooks and sketchbooks to find ideas that I didn't progress either due to the idea being derivative (another artist's way of working), underdeveloped or discovered elsewhere post inspiration. I intend to post these to demonstrate the scope of my exploration, the search for my own visual vocabulary and to support the more finished paintings and drawings on www.davidlyonart.co.uk.
It seems now that I was unsure of how and what I wanted to paint and draw. Notions of 'landscape', 'still life' etc. were a possible route but seemed rooted in a tradition that was at odds with the fast pace of the coming millenium. This very careful sketch (which presumably I would've developed further as a painting) shows a tentative step towards finding the how and what despite having drawn and painted all my life.