I believe, as an artist, that our ideas are channeled from another
dimensions… I say this because as a scientist I have no idea where ideas
come from and the process feels intuitive, nonverbal and from a place
so far removed from my analytical, scientist mind that I can find no
other way to explain it. Thankfully, as a psychologist, I have become
comfortable straddling this dual world - the world of reason and the
world of process (or the unconscious, spiritual, non-linear, call it
what you will!) which does not always follow logical, linear lines. I
believe it is my artist self which made me a good psychologist… I cannot
say the converse is true - psychology is about giving words to feelings
- art is to communicate that feeling in such a way that it resonates
with the viewer’s unconscious to create a connection that is so deep,
that that person is moved immediately, without the need for language to
mediate. Pretty amazing stuff!
But I digress… so my creative processes are different for acrylic on
paper and oil paintings. This is why I do both, because I am moved to
create these works, it is not a decision! Trust me I would rather choose
the safety of my profession than to dabble in this frightening world of
For the acrylic on paper art, I may feel an inner stirring, coming simultaneously from deep inside as well as from outside me. I may have seen an image on Pinterest, in a magazine or billboard - a colour, shape, flower pattern which stirs something in me. I see art is the essence of my nervous system’s response to these sensations. Ideas, for me, are not thoughts, that I conjure up. They are born, emerge, completely and totally, fully formed.
I am usually aware of an internal process happening and this may last for days. Then, boom, I wake up one morning and it is revealed to me in its full splendour! It is not the same as inspiration - inspiration is that moment of being moved by beauty, I get that too, but it may not necessarily lead to a painting. What motivates me to jump out of bed is that moment when I see the image quite clearly in my mind’s eye! Should I not act on this mental picture, it will start haunting me, I swear, it will intrude into my mind over and over again until I heed the call and put it to paper!
Then another process starts…
First I will draw the image onto paper. Acrylic is transparent, it is difficult to overpaint without the background shining through, so planning is essential. During this phase, the image may change, it is as if it is talking to me, asking for elements to be added or removed. The butterflies, dragon flies, birds and other animals, appear in my mind as I work and I am compelled to put them down, even if I am scared it may not work.