Saturday, 15 March 2014
A Cure For Artists Block (written for Amelia Magazine)
Creating my ‘Dulwich Walks’ exhibition was a journey that led me along many paths.
I had 10 months to explore the various different routes I could take and took full advantage of the diversions on offer, including frequent visits to the ever popular province of Procrastination.
After the summer of 2013 I began painting recollections of wet coastal walks in Wales and West Sussex, but by November this came to a full stop as the memories unexpectedly dried up.
Searching for inspiration I wondered down the garden path and discovered a new passion for winter flowers, enjoying their sparseness and delicacy, I painted what ever I could find. Even in late December there were Daisies, and Pink Geraniums somehow surviving the endless downpours. But white roses, I couldn’t find, making me want them all the more.
Eventually I found one in a local park looking suitably vulnerable and bedraggled and committed the heinous crime of stealing it. The guilt of this act ruined everything and to this day the studio has the remains of this flower, still unpainted, it’s dried withered petals a constant reminder of my pretentious folly.
A new direction was needed and almost to repay any offended municipal gardens I changed to painting parks. I found kittiwakes and even cormorants there, making it seem like a return to the coast, only with city rather than sea as a backdrop.
As walking in Peckham Rye or Dulwich park was part of my daily routine, gathering inspiration was easy. Everyday something different would catch my eye, an unusual configuration of seagulls and goal posts, fitness groups adopting bizarre postures or just an unusual light effect.
The theme of walking seemed to bring the show together. It was a common factor in the pictures, either for providing subject matter or stimulating ideas. Charles Dickens famously walked the London streets for hours to help unlock his creative flow, but taking a walk is not only a well known cure for writers block, in my experience it works for artists too.