Sniffing paint again

The Eye of the World, 2011, mixed media painting

I used to love the feel and smell of paint; the way it could change before your eyes; the play between colour, tone and texture on the canvas or paper. But I gave it all up for almost five years to pursue the elusive image through the lens of a digital camera. It wasn’t even that the camera was easier to create art with, quite the opposite. Photographers have to fight a bit harder to be recognised as artists than their painting colleagues. I have always found the creation of the image in my head difficult to capture by camera alone – although I’m getting better at it now.

But paint is messy – it takes not only the physical space to work in, but mental space to nut out concepts, compositions, mediums, elements and principles of the design and the problems that arise along the way. Yes, the mental space requirements are the same for photography but it seems easier with a photographic medium than a painterly one.

Well, despite all that, I’ve now wrecked the manicure I had yesterday by getting paint under my nails again for the second time in three months, to produce my second painting for the year (the one pictured here is the first). It feels great! I know I’ve got two solo shows of digital work to get cracking on, but these painterly episodes are re-inspiring my creativity. It’s got me thinking about the possibilities beyond the next exhibitions and just what I might be doing in 2012!

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