CELESTIAL BODY - a new collection of petite paintings
In my studies at Browne School this year, I have tended to make clusters of paintings. The last few months, each painting has been small. They’re portable, important since I moved out of my old studio in April. Working small enables me to experiment with new materials without worrying about “wasting” them. It’s a way to identify very clearly what I like about the way I work. I keep the pieces which seem significant to my artistic journey but I’m getting pretty good at letting most pieces go so that they can live elsewhere.
We often have the idea that a big painting is the best painting. Big paintings can be monumental but you kinda need big walls. What about the small spaces in your home? The ones in hallways and between doorways? Those spaces love small paintings. And who doesn’t love a little frame-cluster moment? Small work is also an ideal way to start an art collection, too.
Since mid-June, I have been in a new studio space at my friend Claire Robbie’s School of Modern Meditation (SOMM). Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have seen my progress during the Residency I completed at SOMM a couple of weeks ago. It was successful in many ways - intense, productive, and people bought my work - and I will be writing something about that in the coming weeks.
When I finished the residency I felt a bit frustrated that I had to return to carting my art materials around. Kitchen table to Browne School and back again, always needing materials and work in progress to be portable. Now, I have a wonderful space to maintain the momentum I set during my Residency week. SOMM is like a second home, perfect for someone who doesn't believe in work-life balance anyway.
My studies at Browne School rest on prioritising my practice this year. For the next three months (at least), I can. And because I don't have to carry anything anywhere, I can go bigger now, too.
I love all of the little paintings in the Celestial Body collection. You will see they are named in clusters according to which paintings were made together. Naming paintings is a fun process but it's also a challenge because I always want the names of artworks to be at least a little abstract. I don't want to lock you into a way of looking at my work or tell you how to read a painting I've made. My work always features a human body, often recognisably female, and that's language enough. Not to mention what happens with colour and the way the materials behave. The collection's name refers to my increased awareness of things like full moon practices at SOMM, the depth of the Solstice this year and of course, Matariki - a strange combination of "beginning again" and the deepening of a process already begun (winter). Plus a little word play on the figure, to make me happy.
These little paintings are the visible conversations that I’ve been having with ink, pencil, paper and brushes over the last few months. It’s been a quiet, discreet chat.
“Listen” to the conversation HERE.