I am moving, and so, of course, I have a shit-load of work to go through and sort out and throw away. 3 A1 portfolios of work from university that I’d almost forgotten about/was trying to forget about. But I found some good paintings that I did…… at the end of first year?! So… from 2009? I had a spray paint phase (until my finger-tip went numb…. I lost all feeling in it… for about 6 months?! It still goes numb now when it’s cold.) Anyway, these are on BIG bits of paper, and I started off really loosely, sketching with spray paint, and then worked into them with acrylic paints. I really, really like them. I want to work big, but do not have the space. Or the spray paint.
Finding these old painting has inspired some new paintings… smaller, and neater, and watercolour…. But they’re nice. Not finished yet. I always surprise myself when I realise that yes, you can paint quite well if you actually try Emma. Not a very good photo sorry. Prettier in real life. But I’m very happy with them so far 🙂
Old spray paint ladies….
This may be whiney teenage angst bullshit (but I hope not- it must be avoided at all costs- there is a thin line my friend), but I like words, and I want to do something with lined paper and words and splodges, and this page is from a little while ago and is an experiment. Obscuring and revealing and making things beautiful and OH my god, colour! The lined paper obviously isn’t meant for watercolours, and so it goes all nice and crinkly when it is water-coloured. This page is quite a nice object. Lined paper’s not meant to have paint on. Maybe it is meant to have doodles on, but in general you’re meant to be able to read what lined paper says. It’s for ‘proper writing’ and school and essays. It is neat and precise and organised and it is not to be crumpled. It is not a sketchbook. I love the idea of being entirely honest and then hiding it. In plain view. Write down horrific secrets and draw pretty pictures over the top. Turn it into something else. Hide. Pretend.
I’m having trouble going back to finish The Unfinished Work because I want to make new things. Oh my god I will never ever do anything worthwhile because I CANNOT FOCUS! So many ideas that slip in and out of my mind, that I KNOW will look beautiful if I just pin them down and hold onto them, and OH make them real. But I… don’t. Not Good Enough.
I’ve got happily stuck into an embroidery commission though, and I am really, really enjoying it. My design’s all colourful and kitsch and flowery! I’m slightly surprised at how good it’s looking so far. But you shall have to wait til it’s finished to see.
Oh, I forgot, ha ha, there is BIG NEWS. We have a flat. I’m moving to Kent, to Gravesend to live with my boyfriend in about a months time! It’s a lovely flat, in a big Victorian house, with a bay window and original fireplaces and a big kitchen with a range cooker, and a spare room which shall be my studio…… But of course, now I shall have the obligatory panic. And now I have to find a job. But it is very exciting. Just scary. Everything will change again. I’ll be ok.
I worry that I’m not making art in the right way, that I’m doing it all wrong, I’m going about it wrong. But then again, that is a stupid statement- there aren’t any rules. I wish I could be content painting pictures. Landscapes preferably. I wish I was just really, really bloody good at painting. People buy paintings, people understand what a painting is. I don’t think about what I’m doing, I make something because it feels right. Why is it art?! Just because I say so? But my work has integrity, and it has power, and emotion, and it is real. Maybe none of it’s coherent, maybe I should plan things out. I need a plan. I have so many unfinished pieces of work… I need to find focus. But it’s hard to go back to work on something when the feeling that inspired it in the first place has gone. I want to sew and I want to paint and I want to draw and I want to write and I want to crochet and I want to….. I want to do everything. Yesterday morning I thought I could take over the world, now it’s all a bit overwhelming again and my confidence is running away….. Maybe all my work is about making art. All my work is about me. My work is about everything. Take that, maybe it makes sense that it’s not coherent. Life isn’t that straightforward. Oh it’s all a mess. It’s best to not think about these things too much isn’t it. Life is too short to be unhappy.
There’s some new work up for sale on Newblood. They want me to sew more words on vintage fabric, so that my page is ‘coherent’, and because people want that sort of thing. I suppose I have to play the game and do that. I’m not a textile artist. I don’t think I’m a textile artist. (But I did sell five bits of work through them last week, so that is rather pleasant.)
(I worry sometimes that there is too much in my mind that I shall never be able to capture, pin down, remember or write down or make or draw or sew or…. and things will get lost for ever. I should write more perhaps. But then you still have to remember where you wrote it down. Remember that you wrote it down. Don’t lose the notebook.)
(indian ink, A3)
So I have been on holiday, and it was lovely. We stayed IN A CASTLE. Oh yes, a castle. Beach and sea and waves and rain and sun and too much wine and good food and… and. It was nice. I bought a fur coat, of all things, and floated round the grounds like a proper pretentious sod in my sun glasses, reading Virginia Woolf. Christ. I had fun, screw it. And I got home to discover that I’ve sold five pieces of work on Newblood last week! Really must put new work up, and really, really must increase my prices. I’m still getting the hang of it. Have started working on a new embroidery commission; “A tidy house is a sign of a dull women” perhaps? Or “Man was made for something better than disturbing dirt”, said Oscar Wilde….. I wonder if he thought the same of women…
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Email the artist at JanetMcShainArt@gmail.com
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