I had just finished posting about my first 2017 diary piece, “As you mean to go on” when I saw a post by Canadian Artist Michelle Fletcher on Instagram. She posted a collage piece of fragments from her journeys and asked: What is your underneath?
The quirkiness of the question grabbed me. It seemed like an arrow sent straight to me, to be answered in relation to the art works I had just then been writing about. What is your underneath?
First there was the metaphorical question. What is the thinking, the emotion, the person underlying your art? Are you going to tell people? Are you even going to admit that the Hebrew on ‘As you mean to go on’ is not there just because you are going on holiday to Israel. It’s there because of your deep-seated desire to learn more about Judaism. Are you going to follow that and let it out or shall it remain your underneath for now?
Then there was the inspiration? What is your underneath? Yes! of course my art can have an underneath. You see, ‘As you mean to go on’ might be labelled 2017/1 but, readers. I cheated. It was the second piece I made. The first, I hated. Loathed. I wrecked something sickly, confused and at best average with black paint. My husband said it was OK. No. It was not. See: it looked like this:
Bleuch! I nearly scrapped the 2017 project right there. But I didn’t. I made a second attempt and went Brave and posted that I was giving this a go. Then I treated myself to an Instagram surfing session and there was the question … what is your underneath? My underneath – the dark secret bit I wasn’t showing in my happy, I-have-a -new- project blog post, was Failure. Fear and Failure.
But thats not a bad thing. Failure underpins our successes. Failure is the foundation of learning, of moving forward. I dashed out to the studio, grabbed a tube of Payne’s Grey, one of naphthol Light Red, a bottle of White Golden fluid Acrylic and a red oil pastel and got to work making art right on top of my Failure. And that is how the bold, brave, ‘What is your Underneath? 2017/2‘ came into being, along with all the new ideas it brought in it’s comet like trail.
I can’t decide which orientation I like though: