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What should I paint?

When you live in the city (and work full time not as an artist but a graphic designer) you can’t very well paint the world around you. The world around me is an office full of mac pro’s, paperwork and windows that I can’t see out of.

One thing that always bugs me about my art is what should I paint/draw? I always feel like I should be sticking to the same subject like everyone else seems to be doing. That would bore me to tears though! I would be so fed up my heart would not be in it and it will show.

I don’t wake up with sunlight streaming through French doors or have my breakfast on the patio while reading a newspaper sat amongst the many blossoming flowers I have spent all year growing. I don’t have fields, hills, gardens, mountains, lakes or beaches on my doorstep to paint en plein air. And even if I did I’m too busy with a full time job, a daughter and a house to run.

So where do I find inspiration?
Well I spend time looking at various artist and I love it when ordinary subject are painted and I think wow that just a busy road. I trawl art magazines looking for ideas of ways to trying something different. I visit my favourite gallery (The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool) and read inspirational books. However this isn’t enough to get a kick up the behind. For that I have to turn to my obsessions.

I stop and think … what or who do I love? What is my obsession? Well if you have glanced at my website you will see I keep coming back to drawing my daughter and The King of Pop. And it’s the feeling I have for the subject that draws out my passion. My child is so full of charisma and energy that I so desperately what to capture how much I love her beautiful qualities. I have pride for my girl oozing out of my fingers, I just need to get it to make sense on paper.

Of course, Michael Jackson. I’ve loved him since I was a child and developed my love for art, music and dance from watching him. I want to capture so many euphoric moments of magic and being spellbound by watching this man. My strong feelings take over and when I’m being creative it all comes out on the canvas or paper.

I have photographs and sketch books from places I have been to. I become obsessed with somewhere before I even get there. I look up everything I can about a place and work out what I want to do and see. When I get there I take photographs and I compose paintings in my head. I do some sketching but often finish them at a later date. I will use these for years and keep coming back to them and remembering how I felt when I was there.

I have had an ongoing obsession with New York since 2009. I keep coming back to this subject. I’m also obsessed with places I haven’t been to as I imagine how they would be. Paris and Venice. Travel is an amazing thing to me. A change of scenery works wonders on the soul and fills my  mind with loads of ideas and inspiration. I have in my head as I paint, how I want to convey my love for a person or a place.

There’s nothing worse than doing a painting for someone when you have absolutely no connection or interest in the subject. People assume you can churn anything out but for art to have the wow factor something magic has to spark. For this reason I often feel unsure that I have done my best with the commissions I do for people.

My idea to get over this obsicle is to research the subject as much as possible. Find out all I can and why the person loves this particular thing. I like to find out what they would like to see in my work as a guidance.

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