THE EVOLUTION OF MY FLORAL ABSTRACTS and my love affair with colour
I love how the journey of an artist involves twists and turns that are completely unpredictable! Over the past few months I have had the delightful experience of hitting my stride within both my art practice and art business with a body of work that I call my ‘Floral Abstracts’. I thought it might be nice to share a little about how this has transpired for me because I know, as an artist, how wonderful it is to see another artist’s process from the inside.
Late in 2016 I was commissioned to paint a large, very bright floral abstract painting for a medical clinic at a major Melbourne hospital. I had never painted anything like it before and so at the time it was a major departure for me from the way I was working. Some of you may be familiar with the work I was making at the time. The abstract botanical theme was strong, but the colours were very muted, moody and earthy. Very, very different from the vibrant palette I am now working with.
My client for this commission has a love for bold, bright colour. And the clinic itself is an IVF clinic, so it is space that could use some bright, optimistic work (I know, as I have walked that road). So when I accepted the job, I knew I was up for a steep learning curve! Working with bright colour like this was new to me. So as part of my preparation for the commission I painted a lot of studies on paper. It was then that I became addicted to colour! Though I had a bit of colour theory under my belt, it was here that a crash course in successful and usual colour combinations took place.
I must have made a couple of dozen studies before I came up with a few concepts that felt right to send my client. And then the work on the beast of a canvas 2.6 m wide began.
What took me by surprise when I broke ground on this canvas was the sheer joy that I felt! It was like the joy of the colours were flowing through my veins! And once I started I couldn’t stop. It started spilling out on canvases and paper everywhere! I was hooked! I played around with a lot of really bright work on a wonderful painting retreat in Costa Rice with Mati-Rose and Faith Evans-Sills.
I did, however, have to hit pause on this journey to complete work for my first exhibition with photographer Ali Shirley which had been planned six months before around my more muted palette. While I really love a lot of the work that was produced for this show, the joy was not there as it was with the bright colourful floral abstracts. So as soon as this show was completed I went straight back to the bright work.
The only word I can think of to describe this phase is ‘explosion’! I made a LOT of work in a very short period of time and documented the process on Instagram where it seemed to be really resonating. I set up my first online store and the work started to sell very steadily.
I was commissioned again by the same clinic to create three more large canvases in the same style for their waiting room area which took several months and I have only just completed. And as the year comes to a close I am a little in shock at what has transpired in such a short time!
But I am also hugely aware that this uncovering of a signature style in my art came as a result of accepting an opportunity that felt completely out of my depth at the time. That I had to take a brave leap into the unknown, into something that I would not ordinarily have been drawn to because it seemed so alien to me, to discover a paradigm in my art that is so completely and honestly ‘me’. I just love the irony of that.
Equally it has been an education in discovering that when I feel joy when painting a work, that joy translates and other people feel it too. The one thing I love most about the comments I receive on social media is that my art makes them feel happy. I could not think of a better way for my art to be of service to the world than to bring joy.
I have learned so much from this journey and I so look forward to the next chapter in 2018.