We all create for different, personal reasons. Some of us are driven by the desire for acknowledgement/fame, others for money. Certainly both money and acknowledgement are wonderful things to have, but for me they are not the driving force, although I must admit to being excited to be included in the finalists for the Hornsby Art Prize this year. This is of course a form of acknowledgement, but entry into that competition was not the reason I painted the work I entered.
The accepted work, Beauty Revealed, reveals the beauty of a flower in the first stages of decay. I am often fascinated by the beauty to be found in old and decaying things. As a society we are raised to revere youth and beauty. Elderhood and wrinkles are not something we view very kindly.
I have a great love for peonies and was intrigued to see the beautiful soft yellow greens inside the petals where they attach to the flower head. These colours are not visible when the flower is whole. The peony in the painting had fallen onto the table and opened its heart for me to see. I felt this beauty was a thing I really wanted to share with others.
I have always felt that it is part of my job as an artist to share with others things that I notice, unusual things, that people generally don’t notice. It is part of the gift I have as painter, to be hyper aware to colour texture, shadows, reflections and subtle nuances. Bringing these gifts to others in these stressful times we live in is important. Life in the twenty first century is so hectic that people don’t generally have time or the training to be aware of the simple beauty that surrounds them on a day to day basis.
I do believe that in part, this pace of life is why the practice of mindfulness is gaining in popularity. In a sense it is a self-defense mechanism. We need to slow down and dig a little deeper. For many life has become very surface as the challenge of surviving in a rapidly changing world increases exponentially each year.
Artworks, whether they be paintings, sculpture, writing, poetry or some other creation, offer us a respite, a place that can transport us into another dimension if we allow ourselves the space for that to happen. Below is an interesting article about art being a form of meditation, and the benefits thereof: