The Making of 'New Works'
Rediscovering a Sense of Play
With ‘New Works’ now out in the world, I wanted to share some insight into the process of making this collection. If you’re anything like me, the process of making can be as fascinating as the final pieces.
Unlike ‘Sketchbook’, this series of interconnected canvases did not have a defined source of inspiration; instead, they emerged through hours of exploration and experimentation. These pieces were about the process.
A Blank Canvas
So here I was, sitting in my studio and looking at an empty (digital) canvas.
“What do I paint today?”
Having come off the back of ‘Sketchbook’ and the process of creating that project, I felt a little unsure. It’s pretty impressive how much time can be spent sitting motionless, thinking; minutes slowly become hours, and hours become days, waiting for inspiration to strike, or for the canvas to tell me what it wants.
Needless to say, I spent a long time staring at my iPad, not having a clue what I wanted to do, or what I wanted to say.
“I need to mix things up, get out of the house, step away from Twitter.”
In a bid to shake off the feeling of containment, of smallness that winter can inflict on the body and mind, I took to the garden. When the work isn’t flowing sometimes the only thing to do is to set yourself a project of a different kind and, for me, one with an achievable outcome. It felt so good to be working outdoors. This combination of fresh air, hard work, and time away from scroll holes was invaluable.
As is so often the way, a project unrelated to my practice provided the distraction needed for my creative brain to open up. Unfortunately, this is something I have to learn time and time again! Suddenly I had the energy to work, to paint freely, and to stop worrying about what I was creating.
What followed was weeks of painting, not worrying about the finished pieces but creating instinctively. Throughout this period I painted 8 large-scale canvases and began to see a thread running through them; I was painting with bright colours, marks flowed freely across the canvas, and nothing felt constrained. What emerged from this was a painting entitled ‘Joy’, which was created and airdropped exclusively to Bilnd Patrons.
When I work like this, it’s not always clear what the pieces are saying until I stop and reflect on them. Working on these six interconnecting canvases felt like a creative unblocking, with each piece an expression of pure joy. There’s a playfulness to the marks, with the wash of the background contrasting with the energetic marks moving across the canvas. I think the overall effect is bright and vibrant, without being brash or gaudy.
Starting to Play
I was riding a wave of creative momentum after completing ‘Joy’ and felt like there was more to explore. I carried that energy into my next piece which, it became clear, was delving further into a particularly elusive facet of joy – playfulness.
The result is ‘New Works’, a collection featuring nine interconnected digital canvases which work both as individual pieces or in a number of potential combinations. Each canvas, and the series as a whole, attempts to capture the energy of play through a vibrant colour palette and playful mark-making.
The collection also showcases my ongoing exploration of new techniques and tools; particularly the combination of organic, free-flowing handmade marks, with digital distortions.
Working Wet on Wet
For the first time in my practice, I’ve been able to work wet on wet in a digital space. I work predominantly in Adobe Fresco, Procreate, and Adobe Photoshop, for reference.
For my fellow digital tool nerds (you know who you are!) recent updates have meant that “wet” brushes, such as watercolours and oils, now remain wet until the artist decides to “dry” them. The drying process is performed instantly at the touch of a button.
This opens up new possibilities as colours can be blended further, a wider range of details can be added, and the mixture between different brush types is more organic.
Segmenting and Printing
I like to review all of my paintings on as large a screen as possible. Pinching and pulling into different areas, taking in the smaller details, and focusing on the individual moments and their energy.
When I was reviewing both ‘Joy’ and ‘New Works’, it quickly became apparent that they encapsulated multiple moods within the whole, and that segments communicated different facets of the work. I landed on the realisation that there was something interesting about the individual segments, and combinations thereof, that compelled me to divide the work up.
For ‘New Works’ I explored grid sizes ranging from 2x2 to 8x8, before deciding on 3x3, feeling like this provided the best balance for each piece. Segmenting the canvas, and providing collectors with the opportunity to hold multiple pieces, created an opportunity to add an additional layer to the work; unlockable prints.
Collectors of two or more adjoining pieces will also receive a Giclée print on Hahnemühle Bamboo 290gsm matt paper stock*.
*Full T’s & C’s can be found on my website.
There are 36 potential combinations, with a maximum of nine collectors:
x1 complete set
Releasing the Works
While sitting with the work I found my favourite combination changes, this can be daily, but more often hourly. I’ve posted my favourite combination (today) in the comments below, and I'd love to know what your favourites are.
Sharing this collection with you all has been wonderful; so many of you have reached out or commented on my posts with kind words and support. Thanks so much, it’s really appreciated.
You can check out ‘New Works’ on Manifold Gallery now. Each piece is listed with a reserve of 0.65 ETH.
If you have any questions about ‘New Works’, or would like to chat about my practice in general, feel free to reach out on Twitter.
Take care and speak soon,
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