Your old work, your new work

May 20, 2008

I had a great insight this morning. But first some background:

For at least two years I have felt dissatisfied and stuck with my oil pastel drawings. I’ve felt a new impulse pushing to get through, but have not been able to give it form.
After copying several of Krabbé pieces in different media, and through that study, being educated in certain aspects of form and handling paint, I am actually looking at my surroundings differently.  Actually, any serious painter could have led me to these changes. I am basically a draughtswoman and seeing like a painter does literally open my eyes to new perceptions.

So now, enough copying, how to translate what I’ve learned into my own work?
That is where I had the insight. Several times now I have sat down at my drawing table with the attitude of, ‘OK, now it is time for my new work to reveal itself’, and crashed in flames. Duh. 
What I did this morning, which led to the breakthrough in thinking, was to simply start where I was. And I got it,  and it is so obvious!  Your new work has to grow out of your old!  Just sitting down with my familiar materials and starting work in a way that feels good and familiar to me gets the energy flowing- and energy has to flow first before it can reach a new place. Of course. 

It isn’t that simple, though. If it were, my work would have already changed and grown to its next step. I’ve sat down countless times and only came up with the same old same old. But still, the thing is to keep working.

So let me augment the original insight a bit; your new work emerges when there is adequate new input to shake old habits and form a new order.  And the way to get there is to approach from the framework of your old work.

I’m working on an oil pastel on dark blue Canson paper that is a partial copy of a favorite old piece of mine. Starting this way gave me just enough structure to hold onto while seeing if anything else wanted to happen. I am seeing different colour combinations and feeling a slightly different emphasis, that I know wouldn’t be there if I hadn’t gone through this intense exploration of someone else’s work beforehand. 

I am back in the familiar world of my own mark making, composition and colour sense. It is like using a trusted vocabulary, but  to write a new story.

2 Responses to “Your old work, your new work”

  1. joanna peskey Says:

    Hi Sarah, great site, have bookmarked it. I too found Krabbe by accident and he inspires me a great deal too. Could you tell me where I might buy a copy of his dvd? I live in the UK so a dutch dvd would play ok.

    Keep up the good work
    best wishes joanna

  2. szoutewelle Says:

    Hi Joanna, thanks for stopping by and your kind words.
    Here is some info where you could get the DVD :
    Museum de Fundatie
    ‘t Nijenhuis 10
    8131 RD Heino/Wijhe
    Tel 0572 38 81 88
    Fax 0572 38 81 77

    I bought a beautiful coffee table book on his work too, the publisher is http://www.waanders.nl

    And thanks for this comment because in researching the info for you I found an announcement of a new exhibition of Krabbé’s work that’s on now until March in Heino, NL.

    Also, if you are in the UK and get to London, as far as I know, his work is still represented by the Francis Kyle gallery, off Regent street. You need to see the originals just for their texture and variety.

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