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Back again

February 15, 2016

Well, I’m back. Words desert me when I try to say anything about the last 8 weeks. I came through a long and tough operation, and am recovering well, though more slowly than I would like.

My work mates in the municipal traffic project sent me a wonderful bouquet, but also a sweet card of a still life painting- by Matisse. I wasn’t familiar with this side of his work.

Matisse still life copy, acrylic on canvas board

Matisse still life copy, acrylic on canvas board

It is such a little gem that it somehow reached through the pain and leftover narcotic stupor to remind me that I was more than my physical situation. And I got the energy to get my paints out so I could copy the still life. I love that, like the original, it is kind of crudely painted (used palet knife on the background), but still holds together.

My painting was already undergoing some fundamental changes. I wrote about those in the last post. One current influence is Flora Bowley’s, ‘Brave intuitive painting’. After some free experimenting according to her suggestions, I find that my  visual vocabulary demands a bit more structure than her layered free form approach. Still, I am learning a lot from trying some of her suggestions to free up the painting experience. Laying down a first layer, for instance, in cool colours, and painting on top with warm ones, letting areas of the underlayer show through. Also she encourages you to not get precious about what is already on the canvas, and to try new mark making on top of what you already have to push the painting in a new direction. Ruining the ‘good’ correct image to reveal more depth and expression.

That is what I’m in the process of doing with the painting here. It was inspired by a bunch of tulips wrapped in dark blue paper. But I felt the painting was a bit too pretty and confined by the realism.

Tulips in blue paper acrylic on canvas board

Tulips in blue paper acrylic on canvas board

So I’ve been breaking it down by using the palette knife in places and obscuring some of the bright colours and hard definition of form. It is still in progress.

Tulips next stage acrylic on canvas board

Tulips next stage acrylic on canvas board

One more thing I wanted to say about influences, I love the work of Jude Hill and am following a sewing, quilting, and appliqué course of hers online.  It is all about layering there as well.

Her approach speaks to me- she doesn’t plan a piece out to the last detail, she has a spontaneous, ‘wait and see what happens’ attitude. It is really refreshing and something I could use more of. Also, she posts her work in progress and you watch it transform and grow. I could do that more.

And I wouldn’t be surprised to see the patchwork and painting starting to influence each other before to long.

More on other new paintings next time.

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22 Responses to “Back again”


  1. Lovely new work, delighted to see you back at it, al the best, eoin

  2. jude Says:

    Hey, hope all is well


  3. Get well soon Sarah and nice to see your painting again.

  4. Kay Says:

    Missed your insights and mark making. Look after yourself. From my experience of major surgery it takes a while to catch up with yourself or vice-versa.
    I’ve recently started learning about quilting via Jude – great ideas. Enjoying trying out new ways of expression.


    • It is nice to be missed, and especially for those things. Thank you.
      Cool that you are also following Jude’s lessons. I just sewed on my first appliqué (a soft worn blue denim circle from one of my husband’s much loved jeans shirts), onto a woven base. Jude’s tactile sensibility and imagery really speak to me. It is like I have something similar but hadn’t found a way to it before seeing Jude’s things.
      If you want to share what you’ve made, feel free.

  5. Jeanie Moran Says:

    I hope you’re feeling better. I do enjoy your entries. I do have Flora Bowley’s book & I plan to look into it more this year.

    Jeanie Moran

    Jim say’s “Hello” & he’s glad you’re doing better also.

    >


  6. Glad to have you back and on the mend after your op. These are beautiful paintings: I’d love to be able to paint as loosely as your tulip pictures.

  7. ĽAdelaide Says:

    This is a beautiful painting and I love how it becomes so much more expressive. Get well soon… Operations are never fun.

  8. Akki Says:

    Nyc post

  9. decorartuk Says:

    Welcome back, Sarah. It’s so nice to see you’re painting again. If you are doing that, everything’s going to be OK, right? (Love the 2nd version of tulips, your decision to get away from realism worked). Well, stay healthy and take care of yourself! Hugs. K.


  10. Great to have you back, Sarah! Your tulip painting is a wonderful contradiction: moving still life. Brilliant.


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