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A note on process


Process is very individual but for me the most important thing is to start. I'm not very keen on meticulous planning. Some planning, a few sketches, to find a good composition perhaps. But for me, as long as I slap some paint on, or block in some colour, I then have something to correct, something to refine. In many ways this is one of the beauties of working with acrylic paints - that you can keep layering and working on it, perfecting lines and textures until you get it right. Even as an artist, you don't always get it right the first time.

I work the same way when I am writing. A blank page is hard to work with, but if you get your ideas down, in whatever ugly form, you can then work them into sentences, and then sentences that actually run together in a cohesive argument.

Ugly beginnings are good. Ugly middles are acceptable. Patience with ugliness, while you figure out what brush, and what colour, and what stroke is the process, and by the end it will either look like the vision you held onto all the way through, or something surprising but equally as worthy will emerge.

Obviously the more times you repeat this process, the more familiar you are with your options, with what might work, and what will definitely not. And so you get better at making those choices, but it doesn't mean that every painting doesn't have some element of experimentation.

I think that the way that I work, is partially responsible for my reluctance to teach. I often get asked if I run workshops, but I worry about what I have to offer besides encouragement to just start, and take joy in your mistakes and what you might learn from them.

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*inspired by Jack (6) who wanted it to be perfect the first time.


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