Is Art part of a life well lived?

I found a large empty commercial paint tin,

took it into the backyard,

started tearing pages out of my handwritten journals,

lit a match,

and unceremoniously fed the pages into the fire.

I didn’t read any of them, just let them go up in flames. 

 Looking back, I can see that the burning of the journals was the beginning of some important realisations that play out in my art practice.

Whenever I am creating, I am totally absorbed and present in moment – or try to be. If my concentration is poor, or my mind wanders, inevitably my painting session does not go so well.

The way that I paint is a process of embracing change. When a painting isn’t coming together, I will retire it for a while, months or sometimes years, by which time it is part of the past, so I can see it with the fresh eyes of the present. Often I will start a painting with something in mind, but the finished work bears little resemblance to original concept.

Covid Capsule, Oil on linen, 61×51 cm

This Covid Capsule painting is an example of how the process works. It started with a painting that hadn’t gone to plan but was one that I knew it still had some potential, so I retired it.

A few months later I bought it back to the present, creating a strange bleak landscape. Then I noticed some brushstrokes that slightly resembled a face appeared on the canvas. And so idea for a covid capsule evolved.

A Map for Navigating Life

  •  The Universe is in constant flux and the only thing that doesn’t change is that nothing stays the the same.
  • The past is gone and the future is yet to come.
  • Human life is therefore a continual process of beginnings and endings, embracing and letting go.
  • This requires acceptance of what is, and some insight to successfully navigate a way.
  • The present is where to direct our energy and attention.
  • Life culminates death, the process of  simultaneously letting go and embracing the unknown.

You might find this line of thought fatalistic or bleak, but for me it is a guiding path that cuts through a lot overthinking, unnecessary worry and regret. As a result I am more productive and proactive rather than being passive, angry, frustrated or disappointed.

Pop up Exhibition

Think Outside the Fridge Pop Up Exhibition, The Butter Factory Arts Centre, Aug 8-10, 2020

I made the space at the Kaya Sulc Studio feel like home. Mum gave me the piece of fabric draped across the chair many years ago. It’s a sarong she bought back from a holiday. Having my paintings all around and a flowering indoor plant reminded me of mum. I grew up with indoor plants, a native garden and art on every wall.

Coincidental Art

Paint moves in mysterious ways. I paused for a moment, looking away from the rough portrait block-in. The colours, with just a touch of rust red, lively swirling patterns and the subtle translucent textures of the watercolour paint completely captivated me. An unlikely ephemeral creation had materialised on my palette. Now the sketchy picture, the ‘real’ art looked so stiff and lifeless in comparison.