The Greatest Show On Earth Is Here Tonight…

The painting I did today made me melancholy.
I had never heard of the artist Sir Howard Hodgkin until his recent death. He seemed very prolific…and seemingly he had a compulsion. A drive. Not because he felt as though he actually painted “subjects” or even ENJOYED the creative process, but because…he just had to to. It was an exercise in “expulsion”. Driving things out. Washing the soul. Cleansing. And it was his “job”. All he felt capable of doing.

But for him, seemingly, deeply angst-ridden and painful. When interviewed by the BBC in 2014 he said, “People have often said to me, ‘aren’t you lucky to be able to do this for a living’ and I say no, thank you, I’m not lucky. I may be lucky with the result but to go through the horrors of painting pictures is not something I ever look forward to.”

Today I have felt so much of what he has felt. Nothing felt enjoyable today when putting paint to canvas. I worked because I am being paid, and I also worked in the very real and deluded sense I will improve.

The rest of the afternoon my mood spiralled. I needed to try and lift myself out. And while, even though I *do* paint when I feel I can’t…I feel I make beautiful digital art.

Perhaps because it’s editing? It’s remixing. It’s blending. It’s mashing. My ideas blend better. I can “freeform” better. There are many paths I can go…many roads to take. If I stuff up…not a problem! It can go somewhere else very easily.

This picture of Jim Kerr by Janette Beckman is a new favourite. These things become cyclical and (dare I say?) obsessive for several days as the “awe” of the once previous unseen photo wears off. This one is just the newest “obsession” but it’ll mean I’ll play and play with it for days…driving out every bit of creative OOMPH I can get out of it.

With this particular version of it…I started with a holga effect, which brought in colour to the once greyscale image. I added blur effects and other colour layers…and then layered in the “LOVE” border…but I didn’t want it to be a border, but to use it for the wording. Once that was in place, the blue tones and the rest of the wording for Hunter And The Hunted the negative side bordering all took shape.

THIS is the creative part I enjoy…the digital design aspects. The painting can have it’s rewards, yes…but it puts me through hell! The digital designs can do the same, if something is stark in my head and it isn’t coming to fruition as I planned, but it is very rare. For the most part, it is therapy…and I needed it tonight.

Pain and pleasure. Melancholy and joy.

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