There are arguments for and against a formal training in art. Some say that it can stunt the individual expression of the budding artist. Many never progress beyond the boundaries of technique and the safety of general approval. Others say that having a good grounding in basic skills can only help an artist to grow in any desired direction.
It can be difficult to break free from the do’s and don’ts, with or without a formal education. I studied Illustration for three years at college. The standard of drawing we were expected to produce was extremely high. I had always had a gift, so I really enjoyed honing my skills. When I left college I knew that I could realistically represent any subject. I didn’t want to be an illustrator though.
My solid foundation still serves me well. As my work has become looser and more expressive, the framework of tone, composition, design and good solid drawing supports me.
It is a springboard into any other path I wish to follow, from anatomical studies to abstracts. I often begin a new subject by making detailed studies.
Back in my studio a painting usually needs to ‘rest’. I hang it on the wall to ‘cook’. There is a way, hard to explain, of seeing a painting without looking directly at it. It’s a corner-of-the-eye thing, a creeping-up-on-it, a catching it by surprise. I look at it in the mirror, I turn it upside down. It may only need a little ‘pulling together’, working into the shadows or perhaps into the details. Sometimes a painting will need much more work than this – maybe hours of retouching or complete reworking.
All the paintings here are currently on show in my exhibition at the 'La Vittoria' Band Club in Mellieha (opposite the main Mellieha chuch) until the 25th May.
I really think that they are amongst the best I have ever done.
It is open - and I will be there - every evening from 5 - 9.30pm, and all day on Sunday from 10am.
The exhibition is in support of Hospice Malta
Please come and see us (the paintings and me) if you possibly can.