If you are feeling stuck in a rut with your art work maybe a holiday is the answer?
I have noticed that a few of the artist's I follow on instagram have been on a holiday recently. This seemed to have a big impact on their art work in one way or another. For example my friend kimmiLee_Art (https://www.instagram.com/kimmilee_art/) recently came back from Bali. She paints rock-like shapes with interesting compositions. Since her return, these shapes seem to glow and look almost like jewels.
This got me thinking about how my own recent get-away may influence my future work. The work for my current series has been about the feeling of finally getting outside for the first time after two years of being confined to my bed. I have been trying to express that moment when I first experienced all of the colours of 'outside'. It was like an explosion in my head that I could not take in. So much information to process. It was a very emotional moment. It was important for me to try and capture a bit of it whilst the feeling was still clear in my mind. But now I am coming to the end of that series of 11 paintings. Already I have so many ideas of what to do next and they all seem to have been conceived on holiday.
I found that just the act of being somewhere different made me look at things in a more inquisitive way. Sometimes when a place is familiar you stop noticing things as you learn the normal patterns of it. When you feel you know it well you may even stop looking. Somewhere new opens your eyes and state of awareness. It opens you up to having new ideas.
I didn't go far. I went to North Norfolk where I grew up. But this time I was visiting as a holiday maker rather than a local. Although it all seemed familiar, I had changed in myself enough since last time I was here to notice and appreciate completely different things. My partner and I stayed in a lovely little flint cottage in Stiffkey (https://www.norfolkcottages.co.uk/north-norfolk-coast-cottages/stiffkey/1642-poppy-cottage). It was perfect for what we wanted. A cozy place to relax and recuperate, in the middle of an amazing area of natural beauty. This down time gives your head the space it needs to process and contemplate the things you see. This leads to conscious thoughts about ideas and allows you to dwell on them for longer and finalise them.
Something that struck me most were the textures. Being in a house for so long you grow accustomed to square lines and sleek finishes of smoothed furniture. I was filled with pure joy and excitement when looking at the chaotic madness of nature with all its faults and roughness. It was quite windy so the movement and swaying of the tall reeds and grasses exaggerated their height and their linear form.
The other thing I was struck by was the vastness. Norfolk is famously flat. Also famous for it's skies. There is something so freeing in being able to stand and look out as far as the eye can see. And when you stand under the sky which looks so big, you really do feel vulnerable, but also part of the wildness. There are so many birds here, their noises fill the empty space. They fly like shoals of fish over your head, calling to one another. It makes you feel like the lost member of their group, longing to join them on their journey.
This is part of the The North Norfolk Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest
Lots of the little trees we saw here look gnarly and tangled. Many were covered with a yellow lichen which seemed to glow in the light.
At first glance the colours of the area seem to be greens, beiges and blues. On closer inspection you start to find yellows, oranges and even purples. I will always sniff out colour if it is there.
Colour and colour combinations really excite me. So many times I have thought to myself "If I painted this how it actually looks, people would think I have painted it wrong". So instead of painting 'corrected' landscapes, I prefer to use nature as inspiration. I can really see me taking so much from this holiday in terms of ideas, inspiration and even self improvement. I suppose we will see how this trip influences my actual future work when I start my next series. But it has certainly already changed me.