I never set out to be an artist! I’d never taken myself seriously enough to know really what I was doing or why and to be honest the art world and art galleries kind of scared me. I was just compelled to draw, an impression in my own mind of the finished piece wasn’t what drove me forward it was more a feeling or an emotion that I needed to express, confidence was something that evaded me.
Moving on quite a few decades and wondering how I had got to this point without real plans or direction I’m realising more and more that it’s the love and appreciation of my work that is the very catalyst of everything that I am and for that I will be eternally grateful. There is a certain vulnerability to this too which feeds my adrenalin, you guys have the power to make or break me, the decision is in your hands and you are always surprising me.
A couple of years ago whilst we were trading at one of the more arty shows I was approached and asked if I would be interested in selling my used palette! My disposable palette? After some confusion on my part I signed and exchanged my used cast-off for cash and wondered what the hell had just happened.
A year later and in the lead up to the same show, I realised because of my commission work load that I didn’t have any original paintings to display and then remembered the palette sale. So I began to play with the idea of rendering a vehicle in oils onto a used palette knowing that I would have to loosen my style and colour combinations to compliment this abstract background squelch of tones and hues that lay before me.
For me this was a huge ask. I am obsessively a stickler for detail, often far beyond need or want, never happy with a finished piece and I was now challenging myself to be, for want of a better word, loose, messy even. The clock was ticking as I sent myself down a road to which the consequences could not only have been messy but there was the distinct possibility of an explosion of emotions leading to self-destruction. I console myself sometimes about my strange behaviour by thinking back to the day a very wise older lady turned to me and said “You’re allowed to, you’re an artist”. This was the excuse I was using now for my change of style and possible reaction to comments such as “What the hell were you thinking”…
This Palette Painting sold on its first showing along with such comments as :
“I think I prefer these to your normal paintings” “These are much more arty” “I love the idea of owning an actual physical piece of the artist’s creative process”
The question that I have tried to push to the back of my mind now however is, has my obsessive attention to detail previously been influencing my customers’ choices with regards commissioned work? I’ll leave that there for now. The art lover who took it upon himself to ask to purchase that first palette I’m sure doesn’t realise how that action and his kind words activated a shift in my thinking, helping to change my perception of how I work and within reason how I deal with my life/work balance. I really enjoy the looseness of these paintings, the freedom to experiment and explore.
A year on and I have a growing list of new commissions for these strange paintings that manifest from ready and waiting incidental background splashes of oil paint that hold within them the mystery of previous creations. And the attitude of the customer has changed too.
“We’ll just leave it to you” and “You’re the artist, you just go with the flow”
I will always love creating a ‘story’ with my more detailed paintings but the freedom of movement I have with these new sporadic palette paintings is strangely empowering, encouraging me to take risks and venture to places that have previously been my own private guilty artistic pleasure. The best thing of all is that it’s ok, you said, and anyway, I’m allowed, I’m an artist! …
And here’s my latest, they both sold quickly after writing this. I’d be interested in what you think but I’m not fully liberated yet, so be gentle …
These palette paintings are proving to be so popular I’m now having prints produced. Here’s the new range so far including new palette art not seen in this article :