Saturday, August 31, 2019

New Directions

“Shadows and hope” Oil on canvas, by Hilary J. England, 2019, 36” x 48”

Falling into things

Sometimes, we just "fall" into things, like happy accidents.  Sometimes, we fall into things and it's not quite a happy situation, but something good can come from it.  Either of these circumstances can be a blessing, even if one is in disguise.

This is what occurred when I painted "Ghosts and recollections."  I was geared up to have the piece, created solely for a show with a theme of artwork that tells a story -- anything imaginative -- and realistic, viola, imaginative realism.

This was a genre I had long avoided.  I like artwork based in reality -- something that the viewer could relate to, and build a bridge of connection with.  Imaginative realism conjured ideas of campy unicorns and black velvet space scenes (cue the shuddering) -- nope.  Not for me.  So, when I had a nagging voice in the back of my psyche -- call it the Muse -- who urged me to do it, to stretch myself, to put my biases aside and step into the idea.  I decided I could do this, and create a series of three interconnected, inter-related works, each a standalone work, with its own story to tell, a sort of beginning, middle, and end work.  

It took a few weeks of mulling it, sketching things, writing out ideas, snipping little "samples of colors" and references shapes and figures, putting them all together into little thumbnails.  I finally created an image in my mind of what I was looking to convey, and the work began in earnest.  But, there was a side-effect to it all: I had to pull upon memories that were very painful and long ago put away- carefully filed into cabinet number 2410 in the cobwebbed recesses of my mind's archives.  This was not pleasant.


Even though it was not pleasant, it WAS inspiring.  I certainly won't say it was cathartic because it wasn't.  Sorry, not for me.  That old carp from the shrink's couch of talking or writing out your problems and blah blah blah never did a thing for me.  I prefer to leave things in the dust of the past and move on.  That's just my way -- you have your way, I have mine, we all move to the beat of different drums, so to speak.  Anyway, getting back to what it did -- it opened up a floodgate of creativity.  I was eagerly looking forward to creating a nontraditional triptych (three) and began the work.  

After completion of that initial work, I found that I and the artwork had been pre-emptively cut from the show.  I was, to put it mildly, infuriated.  No other word for it.

After a few days of getting calm and finding my center again, I decided that despite the exhibition show organizers apparently AWFUL taste in cutting my work ;-) , I would continue through with the original idea, and even if the works never saw a show, I would do it because the Muse in me demanded it.  Plain and simple.

A star is born!

So, here is the second piece of the three.  It's called "Shadows and hope."  The piece continues along the vein of my own life experiences, of loss, of pain, loneliness, confusion, regrets.  But, always, always, always, there is matter what.  It's there, small, delicate, and yet, so powerful.  It's waiting always, to fill you back up and give you strength.  

I won't go into the particular elements of the painting (I do that in my personal journals -- y'all will just have to wait 100 years until after I'm dead and some blue-haired professor is adding their own embellishments and slants in some class somewhere).  I allow the viewers to experience the painting from their own perspective, to identify with elements in the painting within their own experiences and heart.  

Or, maybe they just like it for unknown reasons. It just speaks to them.  It just "clicks" -- like a cute person in the coffee shop.  

No matter why you may like it, or adore it, or hate it, it will be personal to you, as the story behind it is personal to me.  Don't expect a long-winded dissertation of verbal silliness -- I don't do artwork statement pieces like that.  

And in the end:

I decided I will continue on with additional pieces outside the original three.  How many, I don't know.  Is this the official announcement of a move into a different direction -- I don't know that either.  I've never been very fond of making announcements etc.  I don't like hard and fast rules to stick to when it comes to the direction of my work.  Let's just say I am going to begin a series of these more imaginative realist paintings, and see where they take me.  I have an idea for the series, and yes, maybe they will help me put my own ghosts and recollections in order too.  I guess you never really know!

I will blog a post for each of the works, and the overarching theme, when the three are fully created, and for other plans regarding the series too.

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