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  • Writer's pictureKate Moores

The issue? I didn't love my paintings!

January was intended for Ugly Art! Why? During Life drawing sessions I find, at some point, I am looking, hoping, to create something that is worth framing. Something that someone will want to hang on their walls and love.

That's a LOT of pressure to put on my work, on myself, not least because I work intuitively. I have no plan, just instinct, flow, in the moment. It's only in the later stages of a painting that I look at it critically...with the timer ticking...! What can I do right now that will make a difference, in this last 30 seconds of a pose? And then immediately after..."is it any good? Do I love it?"

Oh let's just let it...and us...breathe a moment!

So yes, January I did very little life drawing. I rearranged my studio and sat making ugly art in a little sketchbook. I used colour combos I really didn't like, made ugly shapes and patterns. No goal, no pressure, just playing, breaking the habit...or so I hoped!

Here's an admission for you. Outside of my commission work, I've not loved anything I have made recently. I had a slump.

The Solution? February!

I love February...the snowdrops, the occasional bright sunny day, and my birthday!

The first day of February brought fresh light, fresh air....and a course I have waited 3 years for!

"Drawing and Painting Heads and Self Portraits" with Emily Ball.

Emily has an elegant, sparse abstract approach to this, which is what attracted me to this course. I notice my tendency to rush, to fill in the shape, to reflect the emotions and connection with the person I am working with....yet always swiftly done.

I took time off from the gallery (thanks Sarah!) and immersed myself, totally and utterly for three solid days. You get out of a thing what you put in, right? had been a long old wait for this course!

And how was it? I loved it, I hated it, I learnt, got stuck, carried on and survived! Knackered and happy. And best of all perhaps is that I am back to painting with wet paint now, as well as the soft pastels.

Keeping Going

For me, February is now all about focusing on the portrait techniques, working s-l-o-w-e-r, and creating a little more of the unexpected too! Now I have the magic new ingredients and tools...I get to gently keep going...and keep it loose baby!

I got stuck, i slumped, so what did I do? I took a break, stepped away, made ugly rubbish for a while to break the pushing-for-results habit, then got myself some new glasses to see the world through, in the form of a course. A new approach, new techniques, new tools, a new way of looking at the world.

The result?....Mojo Returning!

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KM 20/2/23

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