Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Making My Marks

Over the past twelve years, most of my work has been created for exhibitions, competitions or commissions. Painting with enamel, as I did for about a decade, was so time-consuming that I had little opportunity to do anything else. When I sketched and drew a few initial studies for each work, it was always within a very tight time frame. Each sketch was an exercise in both detail and reduction – the antithesis of freedom and spontaneity. The results were quite mechanical and I derived little satisfaction from the initial stages of a work.
Then I went about it a different way. The sketches for my recent watercolours on paper – fifteen of which were exhibited at my Venus In Hell show at MARS Gallery, in Melbourne, last year – are visible beneath the paint. They are an integral part of the work.
Very recently, I started working on drawings and sketches for a series of installations. I tend to be obsessed with detail – any detail – and when drawing, I usually over-work everything with fine pens and pencils. It's an infuriating bad habit and I slip into it without realising. To avoid it, I've begun drawing with watercolour instead, using a relatively large brush, and minimal colours.
It's so liberating! I can draw quickly and with greater fluidity (literally!). I don't fuss too much about composition or technique and I am redisovering an innate, almost atavistic love of making simple marks.
I haven't felt this way since before I went to art school, before I even thought of art as a vocation.

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