I had a comment on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/mymiasart) the other day that warmed the cockles of my paintbrush loving heart. I’d posted an Instagram snap of my latest painting, very much in its infancy, with just the underpainting complete.
The comment was “When I see your work I want to sit and write a story.” Thank you Siggy. Thank you. I can’t tell you just how much that comment meant to me.
I had to write an artist statement recently, part of the application process toward an exhibition space in 2016. I pondered how to describe my art for
days weeks. I feel like I am only just starting to find a voice with my paint…I’ve tried still life, landscape, portraiture, figurative landscape, pet portraiture…just about everything except abstract. I’m just not quite ready to delve into abstract deepness yet! Too much a realist but maybe one day.
Though I have enjoyed most of my paintings, the enjoyment comes with different ratings…landscape has my lowest enjoyment rating, followed by figurative landscape. Portraiture rates higher, it’s incredibly hard and gives a great sense of achievement upon completion but can leave me quite exhausted and in need of a holiday to recover. Pet Portraiture for me is pure joy and Still life, given the right reference photo to begin with, is very fulfilling and seems to be well received by buyers which gives me great incentive!
But my favourite of all? The one that gets me into the ZONE, that leaves me excited for the next paint session, the next photo session, the next exhibition, is definitely, 100%, Narrative Figurative work. Oh, it gets my paintbrushes into a flutter.
‘The Arrangement’ is exactly what Narrative work is all about and here is how I described this style of work in my artist statement…
‘Joyful, heartfelt storytelling, capturing quiet, pensive moments; the play of intense light and deep shadow in narrative, figurative paintings portraying everyday heartbeats of time; and still life that is washed with light, beauty and simplicity.’
It’s all in ‘The Arrangement’. A painting I felt completely connected too and energised by during the paint process. It has everything I love to paint…intense light, deep shadow, a figure, a pet, still life, clothing, furniture…a story, however you want to read it. It certainly helps that its my daughter, my fur child, my grandmothers furniture and knick knacks. I planned the reference photo, in as much as I wanted Bel arranging a vase of flowers, the pooch decided she just had to join in! Storytelling unprompted.
There is so much scope for Narrative Figurative work and the pre planning is half the excitement. I really want to start putting more thought into what I actually want to say with my paintings…prior to the click of the camera shutter button. To fill them with imagination, joy, light and the bones of a story that the viewer can fill in the details of.
It seems so fickle to be painting pretty pictures when there is so much warfare and horror happening in the world at the moment and I write this post with heaviness in my heart for the families of the Mh17 crash victims. I hope my paintings can bring to the viewer a tiny bit of happiness to blanket so much conflict in our world.
It’s all I can do.