Dipping into my past art work
It’s often useful to think back to what inspired one as an artist along the way. This can inform what one is doing in the present and help with decisions about ‘what to do next’.
Still Life with Sunlight below, was made in 2012. I had been looking at the work of the St Ives School and found the work of Ben Nicholson particularly interesting at that time. I had been thinking hard about how to move on from representational work and wanted to begin to develop abstract ideas through discovering new ways of composing my pictures– particularly reflecting on what to put in and what to leave out. I was impressed with Nicholson’s work in that he was a brilliant graphic worker and able to describe space using line. I often looked at his drawing skills and composition as there I could get to see exactly how he was ‘making’ his pictures. A useful example is his work December 1951. Many of the drawn lines are off the vertical and off the horizontal. The product of that is that the images group together and the composition becomes tighter. The effect for me is that I feel thrown into the picture and instantly part of the picture space. I like that.
'Still Life with Sunlight' - Oil on canvas 2012 Liz Cleves
When I began work on Still Life with Sunlight, I set up a structure using similar devises to begin to organise the visual space. Immediately new compositional opportunities showed up. I could now see new ways of balancing form and colour. My thinking moved away from representation towards finding a more imaginative way of expressing an idea about a still life. The picture moved on from being about a lamp, a table and some plants to an expression of how light falls on objects and produces colour. It also became an adventure in organising the picture space to create a lively composition.
Ultimately, I called the picture Still Life with Sunlight because it was light that gave direction to the way the work developed. In the end it was the balance of colour used and effects of light that emerged as the most important elements of the work, while the linear aspects provided the structure.