It’s a process.
My latest paintings, Elevate and Enlighten.
February to May
Six paintings created around the very loose theme of ‘journeys’.
In January 2023 we rode the RN60 from Fiambala in Catamarca, Argentina, to the Laguna Verde in Chile, taking the Paso San Francisco with its 6000+ metres-above-sea-level volcanoes. I painted the landscapes and then saw where the beings wanted to emerge. I shared each painting as it was made, with its story, on my Instagram. Acrylic and Inktense pencil, 40x30cm, on textured paper.
The Peace Seeker: a mixed media painting on canvas, 50x50cm.
Blossom Gatherer expressed my own tentative hopes for a lighter year than we all lived in 2020. After a break from the iPad, I returned to it to create work like this, drawing on the 1000+ hours I spent painting my C-19 project artworks. I feel that Blossom Gatherer both reveals and celebrates the best of what 2020 taught me… that though I’m sensitive and at times feel fragile, my creative-explorer spirit is resilient (and even joyful!) in the face of my fears.
The year the world, and my life as I had known it, stopped. In March 2020 I bought a new iPad and Apple Pencil, and visited the David Hockney Drawing from Life exhibition at the NPG London, just before the first UK lockdown. These were synchronicities that led me to my 2020 body of work. From 15th March to 31st December, I made an iPad painting a day, for my personal ‘survival’ project COVID-19 Degrees of Separation (click HERE to see the 290 iPad paintings). I posted the final painting on Instagram on New Year’s Day 2021.
It began with this (the story starts here on The road to Chile):
Which led to The Joy Experiments. And finally, to this (on the eve of 2020) reflection on Angels and motorbikes. For me, creatively, it was a year when an accident pushed me to me paint with my left hand… and what eventually emerged was a more hopeful, and at times more joyful, voice. What I’m especially glad about is that I wanted to paint and share the story of the paintings, and that I did, no matter what.
Just this… it was a midlife turning point for me. My wish is that anyone in midlife might take comfort from this story:
Read about the painting called Balance here:
Here I am hanging out with the painting on Christmas Eve, in soft light:
Earlier in 2017 I made Wake up call (below), read about it here:
In 2016 I kind of lost my voice. But I did make a self-portrait response to the #Brexit vote result. You can read about the painting called After #Brexit here:
Five paintings came from a deliberate observation of emotions felt ‘after the milonga‘. That is to say, not so much ‘after dancing tango’ as after the whole experience of attending the tango dance event itself ( I spend many hours a week at the milonga in Buenos Aires; such is la vida milonguera). The paintings transit the final months of 2015. Please read their story on my blog here:
Here are three of the paintings:
Five paintings were born in the world of tango in Buenos Aires in September 2015 and are the first I made after my experiment with the expressionist drawings below. Please read the story of ‘the darker side‘ paintings on my blog (in English y en castellano), here: sallytownsendblake.com/2015/10/16/the-darker-side/
Here are two of the paintings:
27 expressionist drawings came in July 2015 from Blind Spots, the Jackson Pollock exhibition at Tate Liverpool. Seeing his ‘black and white’ works and some work in the next room by Willem de Kooning released something. I must not be afraid to express what I am compelled to say, what comes up when I am not thinking, what the paint drives me to make. I made these one a night before sleep (at times exhausted from the day), they are just simple crayon sketches but they have led me on. Part of the process. Here’s a sample of the work:
Early in 2015 I wrote three blog posts to accompany these SALchemy paintings in a time of building up to seeking a deeper sense of authenticity (living and expressing my truth) in my own life. This was when the word SALchemy first came to me. SAL + alchemy = catalyst for transformation. It just felt right. The paintings and their stories are here:
The paintings were a first attempt at letting the work come from a deeper place within me rather than from something I was actually looking at.
In 2014 I made a series of paintings that I might loosely describe as ‘mindscapes’ from physical still life set ups of toys. They were begun at the Slade Summer School in London where I spent two weeks. I understood the concept of building ‘bodies of work’ on a theme, and I pushed to find ways to express my feelings and emotions using the toys. Here’s a sample of the work.
The key paintings in 2013 (for me) were my nudes. They were made from life and I wanted to use strong colour to connect myself with the figures I was painting. When I painted them I felt I was really painting myself and my emotions. The nudes led me to feel that I wanted to explore the nature of being human in my work. I also painted Carlos. Here’s a sample of the work:
This was a time of early exploration with acrylic paint, and I painted my immediate environment. My family. Shropshire. Buenos Aires. I had an obession with the ‘NO HI HA SOMNIS IMPOSSIBLES’ tower (1907, Eduardo Rodríguez Ortegaon, Avenida Rivadavia). I learned about working with the paint (fingers, cards, brushes, some collage) and a limited palette. Here’s a sample of the work:
The beginning. I tried to paint the energy I felt in a situation or person. Simple acrylic paint sketches of whatever or whoever came into my path. My mum was dying, I painted her in the Severn Hospice, I felt compelled to do it. Painting was the last gift she gave to me, and the first painting I ever made (the portrait in red and green) was of her when she was struggling with her illness. I love you mum, and every painting I make is for you. SAL.