When I left you last time, I shared how my style developed. But what about the architecture? How did I get from abstracts to buildings? How do you find your style as an artist? It’s easy to copy other artists, but at some time you have to figure out what makes you unique as an artist. Copying may the the sincerest form of flattery, but you don’t stand out when you copy.
The Circle Abstracts were mixed in with various other experimentations, and the desire to create architecture paintings was inspired by Cotton Mills from my home town. Many of these mills have disappeared and I wanted to capture the remaining ones before it was too late.
This is an early painting, copied from a photograph and the first experiment with architecture in this abstract style. I created a couple of mill pictures in collage form. Then I wondered how they would look in the masked technique. The Spirit of Times was my first architecture painting using this style, working from an old photograph of Times Mill I found on the internet. The details were hard to see and it was far from what I wanted, but a good start.
Would it surprise you that I didn’t always paint architecture and for many years I hated painting it? Let me be clear, it was the painting and architecture drawing combined that I hated. I loved to draw anything else and I loved to see architecture – but not putting the two together. So what happened?
I’d been thinking vaguely of painting some of the remaining Middleton mills. At one time there were over 100: now only a handful remain. I’d taken photographs of various remaining mills and started painting them in earnest.
This is an earlier painting of Warwick Mill.
And another Lodge Mill, Middleton. I was still developing my technique with foliage on these and experimenting with different techniques.
No artist is ever truly happy with their creations. This grows proportionate to the time since the painting was created. I look back at these images now and cringe. Yet there are parts of them that still really please me.
You might agree, that it’s good to look back and see how the creations have progressed.
If you find yourself discouraged with your projects, don’t fall into dispair or procrastination. Every step moves you forward. I know this, because the biggest leap occurred during the following 12 months. I made a decision to do Bucks Open Studios in Summer 2011, and it was a massive learning curve.
Tomorrow, you’ll hear how my architecture art developed in earnest as a result.
I was so nervous about that event but now, I’m on to bigger and brighter events, such as the Manchester Art Fair.