Tuesday, 14 October 2014
I scared myself
Has anyone ever had this? Has anyone ever actually been frightened by their own botanical illustration? I have been frightened in that I didn't want to make a mistake before. Where I was so precious about a piece I lost my nerve and had to walk away. I got a bit scared by my grapes, because for the first time I actually felt like I was painting something that looked acceptable... and I scare myself when I mix a colour first time, 'whoa! How did I do that?!'. But this fear is something far more sinister. I probably shouldn't be writing this, as it'll make you all think twice about my work in the future, but I have noticed that my painting has taken a bit of a creepy turn and this Hosta, well he is giving me the heebie-jeebies. I am not sure why my painting has gone a bit dark - I paint plants because they are beautiful - but for some reason a darkness is coming through. The Coffee and Monstera could be interpreted as lush, but I secretly there was something dark going on when I painted them. Then there's Ophelia, well she is OK - she's voluptuous and sexy, but she's still got that 'edge'. And Harry? Well he's just plain sinister.
I am probably alone in this... It could just be that a part of me recognises an aspect of my persona that I have unintentionally transmitted onto paper. If this is the case, then I am probably the only one experiencing this strong reaction, but I thought I'd document it anyway in case other artists have had the same response to their own artwork and also to see if it really is just me or if anyone else sees the Hosta as bit unsettling. I might go and ask Aunty Terri next door... she what she thinks, but I'd be honoured to hear your own experiences and thoughts on the subject.
For me personally, the Hosta was supposed to represent 'the glory'. The spade like leaves that dig for it, the flower spike that rises like a flag on conquered ground. You get my drift... It was supposed to be about things like that, but in the end, it feels like I dug up a monster. Those spades feel like flat hands reaching out with their fingers together and that spike... it's like a dagger or a spear. Instead of 'drawing' the Six of Swords, I have 'drawn' Eight. Instead of the Fool, I got the Devil.
It's a funny thing how we view our own work and how our mood changes the way we paint, but also how the painting technique might not actually change, just our perceptions of what it produces do. I think I am going to have to put this one to one side for a bit as I don't it's possible to paint when you loose your nerve. Painting is a risky venture. Every brush stroke is a risk. You bare your soul with every mark you make. Your thoughts, feelings and perceptions cannot be hidden once they are on a piece of paper. That is what is so magical about the process of drawing. It is so very revealing, it teaches you so much about how you see the world and how you feel about your place in it.