With time and frequent practice I realise I am becoming more familiar and therefore a little less daunted by the various and often conflicting mental and emotional phases which occur in the development of a piece of art work.
I welcome the initial stages. I relish those early and then secondary steps of applying the ground, whether this is just a layer or two of paint or a more complex application of materials. This is when I become friends with the work and enter into a relationship with it. This is where, with any painting or construction, there is the opportunity to forget and not even think about the finished product but see this period as preparation and groundwork. This is the time where there is no pressure and I can be carefree and enjoy the process of stretching the imagination, be as outrageous, unconventional and as crazy as I wish. Pour and splatter it, collage and stick it, obliterate or graffiti it, this is where the subconscious can be liberated and ideas can be formed and articulated by images rather than dialogue. A talkability that can express itself without words.
The previous stage can take as long as I like except in the life drawing sessions which are limited by time yet it is still possible. Then there is an intermediate stage which continues to be relatively stress free. This is where I look at and find meaning in the marks already made and the colours and materials which have been applied and I respond as I would to a conversation or even a dance. This rudimentary piece can provoke many further actions and reactions leading me consequently on to a slowing down and to a steadying and contemplative juncture.
Then, after my art piece and I have travelled so far, comes the really scary bit. I hit the wall. I do not know what direction to take next or what marks to make and the piece is stonewalling me, the relationship is on the rocks. My confidence is seeping away, depression looms and I wonder whatever made me think I could make this work. Previous encounters with this stage really floored me but now I recognise it when it appears. It still affects me but I know it is something to be gone through however long that might take and I have to stick with it. This is a point where after struggling I may need another experienced eye to help make decisions or I may need to make drastic and bold changes under my own steam.
After the wall is conquered the last decision has to be made. When is the work finished? Well I need time and distance for this last.
On Thursday as I strolled around the life drawing session at half time I saw some lovely marks and colours in the partly completed works. Looking at the life drawing gallery this week I wish there were photos at the half time point so that we could each take our time to decide which of our own works had more potential, the half finished or the more finished works.
by Sandra Cowper
Paintings and drawings by Barry, Dick, Haydn, Jane, Mati, Roger (plus finished drawing), Sandra, Sue, Sumi, Tom, Tony and featured artist Alex