That's like an author proudly declaring that they detest reading!
On the one hand, I completely understand. It happens. Someone showed me a painting in progress only yesterday. I reminded them that I had shown them a photograph of almost an identical scene some weeks ago. Clearly they were flabbergasted at the suggestion that this imagery could have filtered through to their inner album, bursting into life when they needed some inspiration. The trick is then to make the painting your own and be grateful of the prompt your internal filing system gave you.
Visit galleries as often as you can, they are not the highbrow, stuffy and shadowy places you might imagine. Galleries are the voice of the you and the me. They are the reference point for your favourite artist. I love Miro. To go and stand in front of this work at the Tate Modern and drink in every brush stroke, every painterly moment not to mention the electricity of that beautiful Miro energy that pulled you into it's aura like a nebula waiting to devour your heart... okay, .. okay I am getting carried away now, but you know, if you don't go to galleries, where on earth do you set your bench mark for your own work? I never knew that Blue II was the size of a wall until I stood beside it awestruck. A little tear escaped as I thought of how my Uncle would have probably loved to be there with me. For some time after I found myself sneaking a little blue into my paintings, now I have to say here that blue is my least favourite colour, and unless it is vital will not ever have been in a painting by choice. But what I learned is that blue has many shades, and actually there are some shades I quite like and in fact are rather energising. The Blue II is such a blue. I had never ever gleaned that from the many photographs of the work. Leonora Carrington. A marvellous surrealist. At Pallant House Gallery I could scrutinise her colours her sketches, how she constructed a painting. Frida Kahlo .. it was marvellous to drift through the exhibition and really deconstruct the narratives. Something you cant really do from a photograph of a painting, it just doesn't feel the same.
And then there is the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. It is free to go inside as are most of the London galleries. When you walk among the masters something happens to your soul. You will never be the same again. Every time I go I feel myself being absorbed and ingested by the heart of the place. I adore Hammershoi. The first time I ever saw a Hammershoi in the flesh was in the National Gallery, when it was on loan as part of an exhibition. I just stood for a very long time analysing every square millimetre in awe at the precision of it all. The subdued tones, the silence of the work. Yes the silence, even in a room of two hundred people. Hammershoi paints silence better than anyone. At the other end of the scale, Yoko Ono creates evokes and captures emotion better than anyone. Her recent exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery was awesome. I couldn't get there because of health issues (gutted, gutted, gutted) but I did visit the online pages and was absolutely captivated by the animated John Lennon, the Smile project an the emotional depth of the installations.
Then there is the Tate Modern. Oh! Bliss! Very upbeat, very chilled, lots going on! A great place for the family. Tate Britain, a bit of everything and you can catch the boat between the two, even more fun, but you would need the whole day to do both.
Equally, a local exhibition of a group can be just as inspiring! Locally in the south we have Pallant House Gallery, which is up there with the major galleries, although you do have to pay to get in. Gosport has a gallery, most towns and cities do. The Southampton gallery is home to some marvellous works and exhibitions.
The key is to feed yourself. Not just from books, from life. If you really don't fancy a gallery, go to an art market or auction - google 'Art market + area' Make it your business to see art in the flesh and it will help you to paint well. You will have a bench mark engraved on your heart that will go everywhere with you. Wishing you all a beautiful weekend. Please share this on your Facebook page, lets try and get everyone into a gallery this weekend!
xx As always written and offered in the spirit of love xx