This is a series of 25 drawings that emerged after a 2 month long creative block between June and July 2018.
There were a number of personal and professional factors that built up and lead to this creative block. I needed to sort out my feelings and evaluate my creative process as a whole with respect to the entire house painting series I had been working on earlier in the year. I felt torn. I wanted to continue painting houses on these large canvases, there is a story to tell and a message to share that to me, feels incredibly important. however, in my current studio space, and with my financial situation it was not feasible. Not only that, but the process for each painting seemed to get more complicated all while the entire housing situation in Kelowna had literally wore me down. I needed the break from the work I was making at the time. I knew I would revisit and evaluate it all some day, but at the time I needed to remove myself completely and take a break.
Finally, after two months, I bought a roll of Strathmore 300 series paper and cut it up into sheets varying from 14 x18 to 18 x 24 sizes. I picked up some soft pastels I had never used before but always wanted to try. The weight and feeling of a Rembrandt soft pastel in my hand was enough to get me excited to create again!
If you have worked with these pastels before, I’m sure you know exactly what I am talking about! I rushed home and scoured my apartment for unconventional items for mark making. Rocks I had collected, taped up wood skewers, steel wool, hair dye brushes, chains, large nails I had found at the abandoned Kelowna Mountain Suspension Bridges. I set up my station at my kitchen table, turned on Pixies’ Doolittle album and dove into work.
Starting with 9 pieces at a time, I would spread, poor, spray, draw ink all over them. As they dried one by one, I began layering pencil marks, sections of pastel scribbles, flashes of metallic pigment mixed with Golden medium. My process started off like a slow burning fire, casually working with one hand in my pocket while I gently worked the ink on the page. As I got deeper into it, my energy ramped up, and my markings became more erratic and chaotic. I was scribbling and scratching on each page with full force. It was as if every anxious, stressed out, isolated and depressed emotion I had over the last two months had come up from deep inside and erupted onto each page. In two days, I had created over 25 pieces and felt so much better — so much lighter! I had a place for those feelings, and a sense of accomplishment for completing an entire body of work. A completely different kind of satisfaction from spending 3 weeks on a single canvas.
At first I was nervous to show what I had made, while these pieces are full of colour, they come from a really dark place. It is a departure from my previous colourful watercolour drawings of birds, or commissioned pet portraits, or quaint acrylic gardens and I really didn’t think anyone would want to read about, or look at something that arose from such a deep state of depression. At the time, I didn’t really know where this style of work had come from, but looking back now through old sketch books and photos from earlier this year, I see that these chaotic scribbling marks had been in me for a while, I just didn’t really pay much attention to it.
I called this series Let The Good Times Roll, as a play on words and an invitation. I literally worked through an entire roll of paper, and am inviting myself to get better. That period of darkness has passed and it will definitely come back at some point, but it’s time to be present and enjoy the good moments for as long as I can. Also? I’m a total sucker for 80’s music.
A special thanks to those who have purchased pieces from this series and to my cheer squad who helped me through June and July.
Your continued support truly means the world to me.