Starting a new project… or a journey

If you’re already following me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve just started a new seascape painting (it’s actually also a figurative work – it features my little girl on the beach, bucket in hand, adapted from a photograph I took a couple of years ago – another cute memory that I wanted to preserve). Although landscapes and waterscapes are not the main subjects of my work, I often feel the need to take a break from focussing on a particular collection or themed series of work, so I’ll paint something completely different in between.

It occurred to me as I was blocking in the colour for this new painting that actually what I’m looking for is that feeling of ‘newness’, the excitement of starting something fresh, while at the same time continuing the progress of a larger commitment or goal. Now, I know that people enjoying new things is nothing special (consider how often we replace, update, or upgrade something, just for the chance to feel excited about its ‘newness’), but when it comes to starting a new creative project I think there’s also another level to it. For me, making art is like going on a journey. We might have an end destination in mind, but we don’t control every aspect of how or when we get there (and sometimes we might change our mind about the destination altogether if a more exciting prospect comes along!) In this way, the excitement is both about newness or novelty, but also about unknown possibility.

If I had to choose between never finishing a painting or never starting a new one, I think I’d never finish one – but both options sound like something straight out of an artist’s nightmare! Maybe that’s why I hardly ever finished a painting in my early days making art… Isn’t it funny what the creative process can reveal about you?

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