A pristine, new white canvas hanging on the wall is inspiring. Its shape, size and emptiness offers so many possibilities. I play with cut out papers, sketch ideas on scraps of paper and finally attack it. However, the first steps are often painted out but the process has begun.
One gale filled day, I found all the plants in the garden bent double and the newly formed flowers either burnt or their petals sent flying. Entering the studio, I realised that the floor was strewn with a mass of brightly coloured tissue paper – torn shapes that I had experimented with, some of which were loosely stuck on a canvas and I realised that it looked similar to the devastation happening outside. A good start and a thread of an idea was formed.
Its often something glimpsed, remembered or doodled that sparks a beginning. I look for form, simple marks, repetitive rhythms, space and ultimately, balance and power. My palette can change drastically, from loud bold colour to more muted tones. This maybe the result of my mood, the mood of the season, but more often it is a desire for change and a need to shock of renewal.
When my work is stuck and not quite right, I have to wait to accept this and turn the painting to the wall. It is only much later, when I see the painting with new eyes, that I can take a brush and white wash a lot of work away, allowing me to be more spontaneous and keep the painting alive.
Amber is the queen of spontaneity. Each brush stroke is as fresh as the day it was painted, as if she has just put it there. Even as a child, she was my best critic. “You don’t need that mark” or “ You need a dark colour over there”. She was always right!
Bridget Leaman 2016