My ‘blue period’ has come to an end. It culminated in Blue Harvest, an exhibition in mixed media — a collection of large and small paintings and some 3d work.
The exhibition and party was a very satisfying event, one shared with many friends. It was a highlight of my year. Although in the weeks leading up to it I sometimes felt like a bundle of raw nerves. Stage fright arose about the exposure and appraisal of my work. In my daily meditation I was thinking endlessly and obsessively how these pieces, that were largely stored away, would work together. In what order did they belong? Would they flow and create a whole?
When everything was hung, arranged and re-arranged a sense of peace and spaciousness pervaded the exhibition space. The pieces exuded depth and lightness. It seemed to me as if there was an ebb and flow between the images— between vast and impersonal, narrative and personal. One was birthing the other.
In my artist statement I wrote:
A couple of years ago I decided to immerse myself in one colour at a time and see what would happen. It was the briefest flicker of an idea and for a short moment a shimmering vision.
First was to be red, than blue, then yellow—the three primary colours. I’d start with water and dye and take it from there. During the process red turned into pink and flowed into a warm pink tide which resulted in the ‘Lunar Tide’ show in early 2015.
Blue in contrast was cool and stayed in the background, a very different companion. Stern Father time, perhaps. I felt hemmed in by the colour and these self imposed limitations. I read somewhere that, ‘when it comes to creative work, limitations mean freedom’ and so I persisted.
My workshop became a bower where I surrounded myself with blue things and in that space a slow and temperate love affair began.
Blue became a metaphor for ‘duende’ (a Spanish word loosely meaning ‘having soul’) about which the Spanish poet Garcia Lorca said, ‘sadness and duende needs space to breathe, melancholy hates haste and floats in silence’.
In this gradual and slow moving process, my relationship to blue and what it evoked in me, changed. Now blue reminds me of the deep sea, where barely anything moves, where time is of little consequence.
In staying with such a restricted palette and letting this peculiar and subjective process unfold, I have harvested some patience, sadness and loss, sombre joy, vast space and ocean deep, a measure of freedom and some blue works to share….and a deeper appreciation of friends and their support.