What’s in a painting. Does it even matter? Why paint?
Wax is a fascinating material. At usual ambient temperatures it is a solid. But with a slightly hotter environment it becomes a liquid. It allows change of form very easily. Some changes are simple and controllable, some are less easy to direct or enforce. Colours can combined with the wax itself to create truly wonderful paints. And these fully intermixable paints offer total beginners and fine artists a very similar start.
For me, working with wax has a number underlying aspects.
.. the list could go on.
We are in a continuous creation process. There is no escape. Each decision, choice, intention, desire, hope and so on all contribute to the life we find. We are actually creating our futures, That’s not to say we are in control of our lives completely. No, we are part of a much greater creation too and there are many things that affect our lives which are not options we have wanted or chosen.
Working with wax can be a wonderful and interesting reflection of this. Images emerge, wax flows, magic happens, frustrations too. And so the question really, as we work with the flowing molten wax, is what are we revealing and reflecting about ourselves. Art allows us this gift, a mirror in which to reflect.
I painted these five artworks on the same day. First one, then another with some distractions between, until eventually the five were completed. Five paintings which all began in a similar way.
The techniques and processes were not my focus on this occasion. The value was the unfolding creative journey. How did these flowing wax colours cause my hands to move? Where did the emerging changes of colour, form, balance and imagination cause my eyes to settle?
A series is in itself a flow of ideas, of approaches, styles and stories. A set of manifest snapshots; the sights seen, found and ultimately embraced and kept.
How may we understand the value of any artwork?
There is a creator: the maker of the work.
To consider a few things. they may value:
The process ~ the act of creating and making
The revelation ~ discovery of an image / idea
Reflection ~ observing and digesting the results
Development ~ understanding and advance
There are observers of the work.
To consider a few things. they may value:
The emotional impact of the art
The skills of workmanship (the craft of art)
Artistic qualities: Harmony : Balance : Contrast : Colour : Tension
Deepening of understanding.
Stimulation & inspiration
Here are the five images, artworks or works of art.
Or are they merely paintings?
It doesn’t matter how words try to frame them. The act of looking at an image will itself force opportunity to answer in your own unique ways.
Accents of discussion
Why this name?
A name can convey added understanding, added impact, an increase of identity.
Unfinished Journeys, Unanswered Questions
Similar starting points don’t always produce similar results.
All five of these images started in a similar manner. The complete difference between this image and the previous one (above) prompted the name decided upon.
Is it worthy art?
Do the colours, balance, harmony and contrast work together?
Does the figurative motif add or confuse?
There are many questions to consider, many ways to proceed.
A Womb of Creation
It’s almost a fight between “light” and “bright”.
The eye is attracted to one of those qualities in an image.
.. and this title “A Womb of Creation”?
Change is unstoppable.
We are always creating something.
But how do we use our powers, our chances to influence?
That is the realisation.
The image has simplicity.
Space / environment.
The simple direct name underlines the subject.
It is enough like this.
Standing & understanding
Some images take a lot more creative effort and energy than others.
Trying too hard can backfire!
… but this final one, the fifth in the series, brought a convenient ending.
Is it about division?
Is it about reflection?
Is it about identity?
Is it pleasing or challenging?
Is it worth engaging with?
Is it a success?
Is it art?
There are always more questions to reflect upon. And this image showed me that a reflection need not be exactly similar to that which is being reflected upon. Indeed, the very nature of life is that change must occur.
Why paint with wax?
After more than 30 years of working with this completely unique medium I still find fascination, reward and insight through a set of images like these five.
The stories are my own. Art is about that individuality, that unique view we can bring into the cauldron of life itself. Each one of us is of value to the whole. Each creation adds gravity and manifests possibility. The use of heat, the fire element working as the solvent, to ease the static wax into fluid change, inspires me.
… I hope it does inspire you too.