Strange Times and Silver Linings

Strange Times and Silver Linings

‘Selfie’ – Graphite

What an unusual year it has been with the COVID 19 Pandemic affecting everyone in the world. I suspect that much has been and will be written about all the ups and downs of the current situation. For many artists including myself, the enforced lockdowns and stay-at-home time has been an unusual opportunity re-set.

My usual winter travels around Australia have been curtailed and this has enabled a very quiet, calm, stable few months to do lots of thinking about my art, and what direction I want to head from here on. I identified two areas I needed to improve on most and have been working on those. 

The two main goals for me have been: 

To improve my drawing skills.

To learn how to paint bigger paintings – given that most of my paintings these days are small plein air paintings. (Painted outdoors, directly from life.)

I have taken great enjoyment in focussing on improving my drawing skills. I enrolled in various on-line courses, got out piles of drawing and anatomy books and have been practising every day. Most of the learning has been around figures and portraits since these are the most difficult subjects to learn. The above ‘Selfie’ portrait is one result of this study. Continuous lifetime learning is something to look forward to in the future.

The big paintings are challenging because, I really enjoy the process of painting alla prima en plein air. The alla prima method involves, putting on layers of paint whilst the the previous layers are still wet and the effects that can be achieved with applying paint in this way. The bigger paintings, being bigger, are more time consuming and it’s not always easy to paint them in one session. I’m experimenting with different ways of tackling them in order to achieve the same effect. It’s also something to look forward to and hopefully improve with every painting I do.

So even when things seem really terrible, there is always a Silver Lining to be found in every dark cloud.