This week I said goodbye to a recent landscape series which is a part of a bigger body of work. The recent work has taken me over 4 months to complete. This work began in 2006 when I found the joys of painting ‘en plein air’ around the Hunter Valley.
I will see the work again shortly, when we attend the opening of the exhibition at Galerie Belimage, however it was a heartfelt “auf weidersehen”. My paintings are an extension of me, they are like my children. I have laboured over them, loved them, nurtured them and now let them go. It is challenging. Some works are very close to my heart.
So, what is a body of work?
A body of work (oeuvre) is a cohesive series of artworks which are all linked in style and theme. An artist can carry this subject into multiple disciplines however they usually concentrate on 1 or 2. For example, I focus on drawing and painting.
The intention is both quantity and quality. The idea being, if you focus on one subject/ one medium you become more adept technically and thematically.
Your skills are refined thus refining your message through your medium.
A body of work has no end. You return again and again over many years, usually via a series. An artist (I say that term loosely as this can also include writers, actors, and musicians) can focus their entire oeuvre on one idea.
A good example is Monet and his water lilies. Over time his paintings became lyrical, deeply emotional and abstract.
To stay on one theme enables an artist to concentrate on the development of their skill set. Push their boundaries and open up possibilities with their style. Focus creates confidence too. At art school we were encouraged to draw an apple every day for a month. Alas I didn’t have the stamina to complete it but these days I still set myself similar tasks. Usually the concluding work is stronger than the beginning work. Like physical exercise, you only get stronger over time and repetition.
Nature is my body of work. It is a reflection of where I live. It is an extension of me. I am deeply passionate about it and conveying it through my art practice. I can’t see me changing anytime soon.
I hope you will stay and enjoy the development of my body of work with me.
“Various Storms and Saints; Recent landscape paintings and drawings from the wine growing areas of Hunter Valley, Australia and Tuscany, Italy” Opens July 9 2016, Galerie Belimage Switzerland.
Yours in art,