I am passionate about everything involved during the entire cre8iv process, I see 'the' artwork being from end-to-end not just the final image / canvas / illustration / video. From the initial discussions, which has my mind firing on all cylinders, generating explosions of ideas bouncing off and into each other; to merging and bonding these with other peoples comments and ideas; to the focus involved and the self discipline to turn these visions into a real concept; and, finally the elation at handing over the final deliverable. This may go against many professional artists' opinions but I have never been one to follow the crowd - you should read some of my school reports haha.
The initial brainstorming stage, often overlooked & undervalued by most, is the hardest and most important part of the project. Preventing our ego's & with it our programmed responses from jumping into the conversations and undermining / derailing / judging other peoples and our own ideas is extremely tough. That's why Cre8iv Edge offer guidance through this stage, by setting Green-Housing rules which encouraging the 'SUN' [Suspend, Understand and Nurture] and reduce the RAIN [Reaction, Assumption, Insisting & Negativity] . This prevents negative words and phrases like 'yes, but', '...we have tried that before...', 'no that wouldn't work' and replaces them with 'yes, I like it and...', 'Yes, we could..', 'Can I build on that?..', 'Great idea & ...'. This fertile environment helps generate many more ideas and ultimately unique solutions.
With this, gardening analogy in mind, I always like to try and put together a summary of the latest Cre8iv Edge project for the client and also as a personal record, which I hope will be of interest to the reader. As the last few months have been very busy there will be a few of these posts over the next week or so.
Petit à Petit [Dordogne HK] Oil Painting
This project started life in Hong Kong over a few drinks on Lan Qui Fong. I was over there for 2 weeks on a work assignment and I happened to be introduced to the eventual commissioner and his wife. He explained that he had been living in HK for 15 years and his wife was originally from a village near Bergerac [no not the detective... that would have been a completely different painting] in France and they had just bought a place out there. The place was being updated and the artwork needed to reflect the new look and feel. So we began our green-housing exercise [which is much easier after a few drinks on Lan Qui Fong]. The touch-paper was lit and we were in our element [there is nothing like being in the flow], I was seeing HK angled cityscapes florescent in the night sky coupled with an influence of the Buddha across the bay, they were visioning tranquility and the meditative elements in the hills surrounding HK. I agreed to work on the initial concepts when I returned to the UK. Some of my initial sketches are shown below on .... yep napkins lol... I don't smoke so I didn't have any fag packets to nail that cliché.
Before I drew the sketches below, I did some research while in HK and put together the mood board shown - top right. I realised early on that I wanted to replicate the look & feel of old Japanese and Chinese artworks, combining it with western works that use light within them to focus the viewers attention. Ideas were discussed over skype and moulded into the two blue sketches below, these in turn were turned into the coloured concept sketch before the final composition was designed in my ... sketchpad :). The design process was never static, it was organic throughout with elements from prior meetings emerging later while working on the canvas and being incorporated into the overall piece [ok... so I am back tracking a little here... I will not be telling you all the hidden messaging within the canvas... I agree with the general consensus here that this should be observed - hah].
While taking a short oil painting course at Chelsea college of art, they taught me how to build and stretch my own canvas - you can see the frame above. This isn't difficult at all and I am not blowing any trumpets here. I just find it adds so much more to the artwork, building the artwork from scratch just feels complete.
I've also included a few of my research photos below. I love Hong Kong and I can spend hours wandering the streets with my camera. The colours and urban textures are amazing and they definitely influenced my work on the HK side of the canvas.
Another unique element I like to include on every assignment, is bringing the client into the project. I love the passion and excitement that comes from incorporating their ideas and suggestions into the final piece. Working with clients throughout the process allows them to be part of it and ultimately enjoy the artwork at a deeper personal level. Ok, I know we will have some detractors here either a) the person who says 'I want something of Cre8iv Edge's not my own... to this I reply ' You are getting Cre8iv Edge's unique artwork aligned to your inner images & mine, or b) the person who says ' I like to go into a gallery and chose what I like' to this I would say 'The reason you like a piece of artwork is due to the images inside your head and the emotions and values you have attached to these throughout your life! and it is these images and emotions I want to draw out and incorporate with you'.
Ultimately, if I were producing [which I plan to next year] a collection of my own artwork for exhibiting, then these would be for a wider audience and based purely on my inner feelings, thoughts and how I choose to express them. This is not the case with commissions, illustrated more than ever in this painting. I visited the property myself last summer to walk around it and absorb the location [as I knew it would be prominent in the final design]. After returning to the UK, the client decided to use his new drone to take some aerial images of the house and surrounding fields. I was over the moon when I saw the two images he took below, as they gave me the perfect angles needed to complete my Dordogne composition.
You can see in the video at the base of this post, that I also utilised a primary school taught technique for staining the canvas - soggy tea bags and a flaming lot of them lol. Although this was time consuming and you can only glimpse small areas through the clouds and buildings I am glad I spent the time on this.
As you can see from the images below, the canvas gradually emerged. I made a conscious effort not to plan the final layout, I did have a rough idea but I wanted to go with the flow and address composition and add additional elements as we went along. I wont call out all these additions, however I will explain that the writing above the 4 figures walking across the bridge is the families first names in Chinese. While the writing on the side of the canvas was a quote that was personal to the family - 'petit a petit l'oiseau fait son nid' = Little by little the bird makes its nest.
I have just realised how long this post is, so let me wrap it up by saying that I loved putting everything into this piece. At times I wanted to start again, at times I thought I was in purgatory, at times I was covered in oil paint which somehow got everywhere even in my ears, at times I questioned my abilities to deliver what I had in my head.
BUT.... as you can see from the photos above it was completed, delivered and hung in the Dordogne. I loved building the sunflowers and cliff into the edges of the canvas, I loved adding the sunbeams, I really loved fluffing the clouds, and most of all I loved working with the Wright family.
I hope they like it as much as I do, I hope Hokusai doesn't mind me basing the waves on his, I hope to visit the Chateau this summer to see it, I hope my hair grows back lol, and I hope you liked retracing my steps with me.
Thanks for reading.
NB - This is a video of one of Cre8iv Edge's latest painting commissions, the short clip shows the end to end process; from building the canvas, drafting initial concepts based on client discussions, through to realisation, delivery and installation in the Dordogne.
The cathartic musings of a CRE8IV mind, living at the EDGE of chaos.