Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Process Of Change

I've been suffering a kidney infection. It's not serious – just painful enough to put me in hospital for a day. Loaded with antibiotics and pain-killers, I am recuperating in bed, at home, where I continue to paint a handful of new studies on paper.
I've changed a lot about my process for these small works, most of which have an image size of around 40cms by 60 cms. I used to think my art was worth more if it took longer to make. In my twenties, I savoured the grind: I saw it as a necessary penance, a paying of dues. I was immersed in the Romantic notion of the suffering artist.
Now, I am ruthlessly efficient. I use different types of paint and by applying them with different types of brushes, I can reduce the time each work takes by up to 75 per cent. Nothing can make paint dry faster but I can work on a handful at the same time – even in bed. I don't even have to stop to replenish art supplies. I order paper and brushes in bulk directly from interstate suppliers that deliver them by courier to my door.
I used to equate working quicker with being too business-like but I realise it has no effect on the quality of the finished work and allows me more time and imaginative space to develop ideas for new pieces. Besides, I went bankrupt a year ago because I failed to accept the responsibilities of managing a very successful career. I don't give a shit if I come across as more business-like these days.


Stefan Maguran said...

But you're not.
Get well soon.

Stefan Maguran said...

But you're not.
Get well soon.

Shannon said...

I hope you feel better soon.

I was talking about your art with a friend recently and introduced her to your blog and I realized that a lot of the things you've said about your art and how you work parallel a lot of things I've been saying and doing with my writing.

That is an ugly sentence.

I am so glad I found you and your art. So very glad.

g dog said...

i like this post

Anonymous said...

Hi Hazel,

I just Luv that you paint in bed.


Anonymous said...

You're growing 'old' early. One of the interesting things about artists is that as they get older, they often work faster.
Look at Picasso and the abstract expressionists. The older they got the less they have to prove and the faster they got at working to be able to 'say as much as they have to say'.

Watercolourists of course are always fast!



Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more, Hazel. I too have spent waaaay too much time thinking that making art needed to be a long, painful process. It doesn't. I work more efficiently now and I'm much happier. My wife and kids probably are too! :)
I just recently started reading your blog and following you on Twitter.
Really enjoying your view on things.
Get better quickly!

Anonymous said...

After all, in art as in life, there will be suffering. There's no need to encourage it.

Be well.