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Moving on to the Sea

abstract life as an artist oil painting Sep 12, 2021

September 12, 2021

Though the time in Paris was fraught with challenges related to the pandemic, it was also a time rich in inspiration, friendship and discovery.  One of the great benefits of being an artist is the ability and the willingness to discover solutions in the most unpredictable and least expected situations.

I passed from France into the UK without the slightest glitch other than the optician having filled out my VAT REFUND form incorrectly.  The border patrol officers were even more apologetic than the optician had been when he broke my glasses. Passing from England into Wales was a piece of cake.  Jill greeted me on the platform.  Until I saw her smiling face and gave her a warm hug, I didn't know if this moment would actually exist.  My heart filled with joy and we began a new adventure together.

I set up in the garden gazebo that I've renamed the cottage studio.

And so the days passed filled with smiles, laughter, painting, conversation, sharing of ideas and inspiration, fun cooking .. eating ... drinking, visiting with friends, and a road trip to Jill's caravan in Gower. While walking along the Broughton Beach at sunset on the first evening in Gower my next series rose up in my soul like the incoming tide.

And so ended the first phase of my Parc André Citroën Series of oil sketches.  my inner artist is throwing herself into sea with abundant joy and abandon while the over-cautious parts of me are shouting out to her to watch out for riptides and passing ships. Fortunately, my over-cautious parts are diminishing and I dove into the water along with my inner artist.

Being open to possibilities is a continuous process of peeling away self-inflicted limitations.  I'm finding that the knowledge and skills I've worked so hard to obtain are actually getting in my way, preventing me from exploring new ideas and techniques with the total abandon necessary to move to the next higher level of creativity and expression.  

That little nagging voice is finding it necessary to shout at me rather than whisper in my ear:

"What will your students think if you post the hideous paintings you're creating?"

"You'll lose most, if not all of your followers on social media."

"Your just being indulgent."

"What's the point? ... you're too old to begin again ... just be sensible and keep doing what you're doing." 

I come up for air, see my inner artist heading further out to sea, looking back and beckoning me to follow.  My heart and mouth smile. I, too, head further out to sea, leaving the beach and sand dunes behind.  At sea, I will learn even more to pass along to those who wish to follow, either by dipping a toe into the water or by plunging in after me.  

Broughton Beach No.1 - oil on primed linen canvas

It is the macrocosm and the microcosm I love best.  I see myself finding a balance between abstraction and representation of the world, expressing more clearly my experiences of what I see and how new experiences can be woven into the fabric of past experiences, becoming richer, stronger yet softer, complex yet simple, large yet small. 

As I eliminate detail in one body of work, I explore detail even more carefully in another, through continued daily sketching.  When I return home, the perpetual plant journal will come back off the shelf and the large, stretched canvases will come out of storage.

I'm looking forward to teaching two live workshops in Cardiff on October 4th.  They'll be the first live workshops I've been able to teach in almost two years due to the pandemic restrictions.  I'll be presenting my techniques of sketching with ink and watercolor, demonstrating how I often work in the studio and how I work when traveling.  I'm curious to see how differently I present my thoughts about sketching as I know they've evolved since I last taught a class on location where we can easily share our thoughts with one another.  

The title of the Workshops (one in the afternoon and one in the evening) is "WHERE YOU ARE".  This title means so much more to me after the time I've just spent in Paris and my first two weeks here in Wales.  More about that in the next blog post.

The workshops are being presented for the Dinas Powys Art Group near Cardiff.  A few artists who live in the area have asked if they, too, might attend and I've just received confirmation that the workshop is permitted and will be taught with everyone wearing masks and abiding by social distancing recommendations.  Non-members are welcome to join for a nominal fee.  Please contact me if you are interested in joining either the afternoon, the evening ... or both sessions.

To give you a heads up ... I'll be returning to the US on October 12th.  Within a week or so, I'll get back to my more regular posting and presentation of online courses.  I'm grateful for this time and opportunity to nurture and look after my own inner artist.  Thank you for your patience.

Chris Carter



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