A post on my inspiration for Landfall and Harbour Light. Two paintings currently in my portfolio and available from Number Four Gallery St Abbs.
I’m interested in exploring, and this includes both our inner and outer worlds. As a psychotherapist in my other work, I spend my time with people helping them explore their inner lives. And for myself this has been a continual process of discovery.
I have always loved the sea and travel, as I explore the outer world. My love of the sea is such that it has even taken me beneath the surface. For two or three years I was a keen scuba diver exploring the underwater landscape with as much enthusiasm as I explore above. Art and painting feels like it is another form of this exploration. One in which I am bringing together these two types of exploration, both inner and outer. In my work I am often inspired by the places I have seen, their history and how I have experienced them. This post is a reflection on the experiences of travelling and coming back to the familiar from the new.
There are two paintings in my current work that were named in connection with these experiences of travel and exploration. Landfall and Harbour Light both have shapes and colours in them that remind me of being out at sea and approaching land from a distance. They remind me of being on a boat, standing on deck and seeing land approach. Distantly at first, the first shadows and shapes emerging slowly, then with more and more definition. During daylight as cliffs, buildings and fields become visible. Or in the evening, when the harbour lights are shining out. My fantasy is that the lights winking in the distance guide boats in as they return home. That might have been the case 100 years ago these days I expect that technology plays a much larger part in bringing ships home.
There is also a metaphor in the naming of these works. The sense of an exploration of colour and shape and the resolution of that exploration as forms are discovered in the process of painting. A form that resonates and brings a settling in the artist. As something emerges in the process of laying down paint and marks that brings sense of familiarity or meaning to something that can be a chaotic process, without a clear direction or intention. So for me, that was when the ideas about harbours, land and sea became apparent in these paintings.
When I begin a new painting it is like setting out on a journey and one where I do not know the direction of travel. To go forward I must be willing to suspend my need for knowing as I explore and find my way. the work becomes about responding in the moment to what is happening rather than planning or thinking about an end goal.
How do you approach your work? What are the challenges you face in following your creative process.