Often, people ask me...
" what's it really like to be an artist?"
Our work is largely a solitary pursuit, and one of dedication.
We do need a strong discipline, and this can be both rewarding and demanding. My own creative outlet needs to accommodate my family commitments, as is common for many women…lots of enthusiasm, but time poor.
Our artwork practice is so far removed from the style of business or corporate life, and its difficult to understand the mystique surrounding a studio, and the way of life. We believe our traditional studio is unique, as its a very large community of artists working co-operatively and independently.
There is a particular 'JOURNEY' through the painting, and its this journey which provides the most significant satisfaction, for me as the artist, rather than its final outcome, whether good or bad. There develops a deep feeling of connection to the painting…so engrossing, that it can become like a meditation.
At the beginning there is a quiet, reflective (or puzzling) time
for THINKING...planning, ideas, visualising, researching and it
is critical to the success of the finished piece. Sometimes, as the painting progresses, a studio colleague becomes a collaborator, helping me gain further insight. Often, another objective, trained eye can provide a key element, or constructive comment.
As an artists' community in one+2 studios, we cherish this camaraderie, support and professional development.
We all visit exhibitions of past and present artists, as well as allied creative shows, so that a wide and varied knowledge of the art world may inspire or reflect our particular interests… rather like ongoing lifetime education and visual stimulation, designed to inform our own work.
After the thinking, comes the Painting Process, where as you might expect, much time is spent on basic practical preparations.
Discussions with clients, galleries, photography, set-up, props, equipment and preparation of canvas, brushes etc.
Finally, there are corrections,signature, varnish, photography for archiving, documentation and framing.
I have developed a bulging 'Silly Ideas' notebook, (most artists have one, a sketch pad or a visual diary). This book (full of random notes) for me, is such great fun…especially at 3 or 4 am when the most amazingly weird ideas, elusive fragments of a concept, need to be captured as they will disappear by morning!
@ Judith Johnson 2013. All rights reserved. Paintings photographed by John McRae
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