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This is my blog hop! I was extremely honoured when the artist Sarah Boyts Yoder asked me to continue this chain of blogs that promotes knowledge and appreciation for different artists and their work.

Sarah’s work is an ongoing source of inspiration for me. There are so many great elements that work well together in her painting on canvas and paper it’s hard to know where to begin. Her drawing is very strong and she often uses various types of drawing media to great effect combined with a painterly style. She isn’t afraid to cut things up and move them around, I find this very exciting and courageous. Her work shows so much confidence and strength, she has achieved that quality of making everything look easy and thrown together, which is very attractive and very difficult to pull off. Her use of space is also fascinating to me, I think this is because I have a real problem with how to use space and how to arrange elements in a composition, in this sense her work is really highly developed and sophisticated. Thanks again for your kind words about my work Sarah!

How does your creative process work?

This is something I am always wondering about, it’s something that is constantly shifting and evolving. A lot depends on what’s happening in my life.

I have a feeling for how I want to proceed with my work; I want to investigate different ways of doing things; mark making, moving the paint around, drawing, composition and colour. I feel quite obsessed by it all, I probably need to calm down about it but to be honest it has taken me some time to begin painting with any sense of freedom and I am really enjoying it now. I have quite a lot of nervous energy that builds up if I don’t paint for a few days, and looking after my two children can drive me round the bend if I don’t make time to do this activity.

I love to experiment with new materials, if I’m feeling stuck I know I need to try something new, I like seeing what different materials can do, what marks and textures I can make with them. Scale has also been important to my process, recently I decided to start working on larger canvases and the change has been quite exciting.

As to how my paintings come together it happens like this: I start to draw or make marks and basically break up the white space, these initial marks give me something to respond to. I will keep working in this way on several pieces at once. Usually there is a moment of tension when I don’t know how to move forward, or whether I should in fact move forward; that moment when a painting may or may not be finished. Sometimes paintings come together very quickly in a matter of days but other times they can take a lot longer. These more difficult paintings are the ones that usually teach me the most about my process. Going for a long walk in the country normally helps me to get through a painting block and time away from the work definitely helps. I think sharing my work online through social media is essential as I get vital feedback from other painters.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I look at a lot of paintings everyday online and so I get influences from a lot of different sources and I try to be very experimental. My paintings probably have a certain me-ness about them but they are all very different from each other as I work through different ideas. I think this is because I’m still just learning about the whole process, but I have the feeling that I will always be learning and evolving, or least I hope I will!

What are you working on now?

I’m about to start a new project for a show in November so I’m just wondering whether to continue to do the kinds of paintings I’ve been doing over the last few months or to do something completely new like a mural. It’s exciting and scary to be at this point in a project because everything’s wide open.

Why do you do what you do?

I have been obsessed by looking at art my whole life, it gives me enormous pleasure to look at beautiful things, I would do it all day everyday if I could. At some point in my twenties I lost the plot and felt overwhelmed by all the possibilities there were, I couldn’t settle on anything and finally I was sunk by it. I never stopped making but it was so excruciating to do, I had an emotional and psychological block and it was a very hard time. I had to work very hard to get back to feeling good about making, to let go and lose my need to control everything. I am very grateful to be able to enjoy making again it has filled a void in my life and is something I feel an enormous appreciation for everyday!

I would like to introduce three artists who I admire greatly and who have had an important impact on my work in recent months: Clair Graubner, Phillip J Mellen and David Myrvold.

Clair Graubner is a fellow mum artist and we have formed a very close friendship based on our mutual struggle to find time to paint despite our mothering responsibilities. We have even created a collaborative Tumblr blog call Painting in Parallel where we share “painting conversations” in which we take turns doing a stage of a painting and respond to eachother’s work. Her painting style is in flux, as my own is, I have the sense from her that she is fighting to grow her painting practice, as I am too and so this makes for a great painting relationship as we are both very willing to try out new ideas. She comes from a very strong figurative background, which seemed to evolve into hard edge abstraction through her love of architecture. Now she’s making quite a lot of very gestural and even impressionistic works. All of these styles she takes on with great success, relying on a highly developed and sophisticated sense of colour.

Phillip J Mellen is a great painter, creating very strong gestural work with vibrant colours on the one hand and very subtle and delicate painterly and collage experiments on the other. He’s responsible for one of my favourite podcast artist interview blogs Ahtcast, in which he interviews a wide range of artists. When I first came across this artist it was in truth because of this wonderful blog which I really enjoyed listening to, but then I discovered his paintings which are really beautiful and so we struck up a friendship it was only a little later when I discovered he was a poet too. I found this combination of activities very inspiring, these different means of expression that seem to come together to reflect a profoundly sensitive, romantic, and thoughtful person. There is a combination of strength and vulnerability, and often humour that Phillip taps into through his painting and poetry.

David Myrvold is an established artist and art educator who is a fairly recent discovery for me. Layers of drawing and paint, with collage and gestural paint marks come together time and again in this artist’s body of work to pay homage to organic forms as well as the painter’s ongoing struggle to find perfect but also imperfect pictorial harmony. There’s something timeless and sophisticated, yet raw and edgy in Myrvold’s work. Recently I read an interview with the artist Joanne Greenbaum and she talked about trying to achieve the energy of drawing within a painting and this is what I get from Myrvold’s work, the energy of drawing. Moreover, his 3D work on wood is very exciting; bringing the energy of his drawing and painting out of the picture plane. I find myself coming back to this artist’s work time and again for inspiration.

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