This week, I was inspired by Niki Hare‘s work. She’s a new, wonderful addition to the artistic lineup over at Ink & Alchemy. Her work is scattered throughout this post; click on any image to transport to her website. This is what Niki said about this series, titled Talking To Myself Again:
Niki: “I’m struggling for words about the “word” paintings, I guess they should speak for themselves.They are just a form of writing on the wall, a way of being very honest and exposing my thoughts, but always with the option to write over. The directness matters, it is me unprocessed, there is nothing planned, the words just appear and I just paint them as they come out. They are not careful, carefulness becomes a frustration, it dilutes things.But the words are also paintings, they have layers and history and the feeling of decaying graffiti found on a wall. Maybe I am a poet with no language except that of paint and these paintings have become a way to speak. The work is very personal, but that makes it richer. I have found a freedom in being able to say exactly what I want, the words may be buried, but they are still there underneath, they have been said.”
I featured one of her pieces, Unclear (below), earlier in the week after she graciously accepted my invitation to become a Featured Artist. The painting wouldn’t let loose of me. I found myself thinking of it often, sketching words in the margins of agendas at work during meetings. I wanted to try this loose, free way of painting with words. I often incorporate words into my painting, but thus far, they have been freehand, so the idea of using stencils was interesting. Adding words to my art is cathartic, like writing in a journal, which I never seem to find time to do. When my works are finished, most of the words have been obliterated and covered over, which is actually a very satisfying part of the process for me.
Also, I absolutely adore graffiti and this technique has echoes of that. I love it so much, that I once had a brilliant idea to put some graffiti in our home, which ended with my husband scrawling a message i red paint across the dining room wall where it remained for a year and a half. It’s gone now, replaced by an art gallery, but remains there still, under the plaster and paint and I like that idea very much. I love that layering words is so much like how life works. Things change. Slowly a thin veneer is laid over the old, but those things are still lurking under the surface, threatening to appear from time to time. Bits and pieces poking out when least expected.
I’m not trying to replicate Niki’s work (and I couldn’t if I tried), but I wanted to use it as a jumping off place, and so I did. I became so fixated, that when I looked up again, it was heading towards midnight on a worknight (gasp!) and I was covered in black paint and so was my studio.
Words are important, and this point has been driven home to me several times this week, most notably during a situation in which I didn’t use my words very effectively and led straight into a very unpleasant argument. Still smarting from that one. Words feature heavily in my life. I write. I seek and struggle on a daily basis to find the right words. My day job requires that I effectively communicate with people all day long. Relationships demand constant give and take.I’m resolving this week to do my best to use words in ways that support my goals and enrich my life.
- “That’s what careless words do. They make people love you a little less.” – Arundhati Roy
- “Words are a pretext. It is the inner bond that draws one person to another, not words.” – Rumi
- “We live and breathe words.” – Cassandra Clare
- “I am, by calling, a dealer in words; and words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”– Rudyard Kipling
Below are some images I snapped as I worked on throwing some words onto wood. It will be interesting to see where this process takes me. Right now, as with any of my paintings, the important thing is to get something on the substrate, create for myself a foundation and a place from which to start, and that is what you see here.
Now, as these base coats dry, I will go attempt to write some words that don’t suck. To that end, I have recently began to read Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer. Funnily enough based on the subject of this post, words won’t do this book justice. You need to hold it in your hands and slowly flip through the pages to fully appreciate it. It’s subtitled The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, and the book is so densely packed with ideas and inspiration that it’s difficult for me to read more that a page or two at a time, because I feel compelled to stop reading and start scribbling on the nearest piece of paper, be it napkin, receipt, or index card. I mentioned that it was illustrated and this aspect is wonderful to me. It’s a smorgasbord of art. You’ll have to check it out yourself to see what I mean. This is perfect timing for me to work through this book, because guess what time it is? If you shouted NaNoWriMo, you are correct! It’s almost time – join me!
As always, you are encouraged to visit my website, which will point you to my entire social media platform. I’ve also got free resources for you. If it’s daily doses of inspiration you seek, hit me up on FB – Ink & Alchemy for art or More Ink for writing and social media stuff.
Wishing you peace, paint, & publishing, Robin