Monday 13 December 2021

(Re) Finding direction in Art and Life

Experiments with a sword liner brush. Watercolour  on paper 

My blog, Art Matters, has a sub heading my thoughts on art and life. I added this primarily because eleven years ago when I started the blog in preparation for my move to Australia I hadn’t settled on a format or content outline for the blog. The subheading gave me leeway to divert from strictly art content. I’ve mostly stayed true to only art content. A recent post about my visit to the Emergency Room was a rare diversion. 

2020 - 2021 - 2022

It’s been an odd time well it’s been an odd two years plus now for everyone, I guess. The pandemic has changed the way we live. It’s added extra pressures, forced us to find new ways of working and living. In some ways, I think the slowing down which fosters more introspection has helped many find out what’s important. 

COVID 19 has forced health matters to the forefront, we cannot ignore its presence. Experiencing the pandemic now in 2020 - 2022 rather than decades ago, makes me particularly thankful for the extensive developments in medicine. We have vaccines to protect us just as in the past these eliminated Smallpox, Polio and Diptheria as well as a host of childhood infectious diseases.

I’ve always considered myself to be a healthy person. I’ve never been the sporty type but in recent years I’ve given more consideration to diet and exercise. The events of September 16th brought this all into sharp focus. I’ve realised this year more than ever that how we feel gives direction to the type of art we create.


It’s almost eleven years since I arrived in Australia - a decade plus of living here. I decided that I need to give my home a makeover. I arranged a painter, added new bench tops and sinks to the kitchen and replaced the carpets. That quick sentence makes it sound so easy but the reality is somewhat more complicated. I needed to tidy, sort and de-clutter to make the renovations possible. There were boxes of items that had travelled in the container from South Africa and many had remained largely unused. It was time for them to go. I realised I had been extremely productive - so many paintings too many to hang in my home, just too many. 

Consequently, I’ve been taking a more minimalist approach to my creativity. I am doing more work on paper, more drawings, more watercolour and a lot more digital work. Both my iPad and my sketchbook have become my constant companions. It’s almost a relief to work small. 

Drawing Inspiration 

I regularly listen to a podcast called Drawing Inspiration hosted by Mike Hendley. In December his guest was Marta Witkiewicz. The episode was titled ‘Taming Inner Demons with Pencils and Magic At the end of the podcast Mike always asks his guest to set some homework for the listeners. Marta urged us to find somewhere quiet and consider  our creative why. 

This time of self reflection and perhaps some introspection is so necessary. We need to check that we are following our planned direction - are we in fact on the right path?

What is your why?

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