AUTHENTICITY AND CONNECTION: THE ART OF LETTING GO

Currently I am in the retreating phase of one of my creative waves. That means I am contemplating my work, its themes, the things I am exploring and why. And just now I realised that I have been operating on a scale of authenticity and connection. And that maybe now the time has come for me to step out of that scale.

A scale of authenticity and connection?

What do I mean with a scale of authenticity and connection when it comes to my art practice? I feel like I am constantly balancing the authenticity of my work with how it will or won’t connect with others. Let me give you an example. When I come up with something to make I also immediately think about how others will react to it. And whether it may be defining me as something or someone to other people. As a result depending on how I feel I will choose to compromise the authenticity of my work. Or I will choose to push through with a sort of devil-may-care attitude.

I now feel that this doesn’t suit me no more. Neither ways: no pushing and no compromising or self-censuring my creativity.

authenticity and connection: no longer compromising my art practice - the fran visual artist 2020

My understanding of this scale within my work up until now

For the first time in my life I am being totally okay with being in this retreating phase. Contemplating, silent, processing. Being okay with it took it to a whole different level of contemplating. I started looking at my artistic practice and the way how I connect with my own work.

I now understand that I have been connecting with my work the same way as I have learned to bond with people as a child: co-dependently.

authenticity and connection: making large fruits just because I want to make them - the fran visual artist 2020

What is codependency?

Codependency is an unsafe attachment style adopted by children who cannot bond with their parents/caregivers in a healthy, loving way. Codependency makes you want to manipulate other’s opinions of you for your own good (your own sense of being loved). Rather than developing a sense of authentic self love and self respect. In essence: you need others to love you in order to be able to love yourself. And you will do anything to ensure they will. Even compromising yourself.

This of course is a recipe for disaster when it comes to developing a strong sense of self. And of self-expression. Because codependency leaves you in a place of constant worry. Worry about how others are perceiving you and whether they will still love you tomorrow.

new and familiar: large collage artwork by the fran visual artist 2020

The art of letting go

Now that I am healing from all kinds of unconstructive patterns I am able to discover those patterns in my artistic practice as well. Suggesting that my art exists on a scale of authenticity and connection is in a way deeply codependent. At the same time I understand that as an artist you’re not operating on an island. And that most of us actually do create art to feel connected. Whether it is with nature, with our inner world and/or with the souls of others). I now understand as well that the purpose of connection can never be the cause of compromising your authenticity. Because only from creating through that strong sense of authentic expression you will experience true connection.

Choose authenticity and connection will follow

So, from now on I will be practicing the art of letting go. Making art because I feel it wants to be made through me and subsequently letting it go. Allowing it to have its own journey once it’s out of my hands. Meeting and connecting with like minded souls, whoever that may be.

I will be winking at them from a distance, wishing them well while creating new art.

NEW ART IDEAS TO EXPERIMENT WITH

Autumn has really kicked in here in The Netherlands and that’s always the moment I get all these new art ideas to experiment with! In the short video below I tell you about them and I show you all my new sketches:

New art ideas to experiment with!

CURRENTLY WORKING ON: COLOUR STUDIES

I am currently working on my extra small colour studies in oil pastel. I started them because I really liked experimenting with this new medium. And because I wanted to try out different colour schemes in a low profile way. By cutting up old oil paintings on paper I created A5 sized ‘primed’ oil pastel paper to work on. My approach is to make four different colour studies of one composition. The compositions I’ve made are inspired by my trip to Morocco in 2016 and the film The Best Exotic Marigold hotel.

Another idea behind these extra small colour studies was that I could find out what colours I use all the time and what colours I use rarely. The reason I wanted to find out was because I knew I want to switch to more expensive oil pastels in the future. And by finding out what colours suit me I can buy them more mindfully.

But while I was working on these small studies new art ideas crept into my mind. I wanted to work on larger works again! Let me tell you: that’s the best feeling ever!

new art ideas extra small colour studies by the fran visual artist
Small colour studies
new art ideas extra small colour studies by the fran visual artist
Oil pastels on primed paper, A5
new art ideas extra small colour studies by the fran visual artist
One composition in different colour schemes

NEW ART IDEAS: SHETLAND PAINTINGS

The first new art idea came to me while watching Shetland, the BBC television series about D.I. Jimmy Perez on Shetland. I was totally enthralled by it (‘by him’ should be a statement a little closer to the truth, but hey, I am running an art business here, not an online dating website…). The seascapes, rock formations, island views from the sea. All those views were just breathtakingly beautiful.

And even though I am not a very big fan of great landscape or seascape paintings (…. work being the exception) I wanted nothing more than to paint them. So I started sketching while watching and I came up with a couple of ideas.

You can see the sketches in the video!

NEW ART IDEAS: ‘COSY CORNERS’

This idea actually isn’t as new as the other ones. I have been dreaming of painting ‘cosy corners’ since the worldwide pandemic. Maybe because we were forced to stay home, maybe because I wanted to show my love for those places in my own home. Sitting next to a window, underneath a large plant, watching the weather and the trees outside is my kind of happiness.

But back in March I didn’t think it original enough. I am always influenced by Henri Matisse, but this idea felt like straight from his mind or something. But it’s September now and the idea is still creeping back into my head every week. So I decided to surrender. Cosy corners, here I come!

Some base layers in oil
A3 sized backgrounds
Oil paint thinned with white spirit

NEW ART IDEAS: KITCHEN CORNERS WITH FOOD

Another idea, closely linked to those cosy corners is my wish to paint a series of kitchen corners with food. I have always had a fetish for food (I once had a food blog for about 3 years). I really love good food photography. So when I started scrolling through the old pictures I took for my food blog I was like: this is a goldmine!

So this is also definitely happening: a series of kitchen corners with cabinets, kitchen tables, jars with marmalade, home made lemonade and piles of pancakes! Can’t wait to paint these!

The first fifteen backgrounds on my studio floor. I’ve made 12 more since then but I don’t have any pictures yet.

AND NOW WHAT?

It’s been a while since I had this many ideas for new paintings! So I got a little bit confused about how to act… Bob said: just go with the flow. Work on all those ideas at once and let the work guide you. There is no deadline, there are no expectations. Just immerse yourself and enjoy it. Good advice. To be continued!

FOLLOW MY PROGRESS

In the meantime you can follow my progress on Instagram @art.bythefran or on my YouTube Channel The Fran Zone.

ART TALK: HOW I MAKE ART BEHIND THE SCENES

Last week I recorded an art talk about my XXL Fruits. You can watch it below or check out my YouTube Channel. Part 1 is about the Fruits in space. Part 2 is about the Fruits on earth. I hope you enjoy watching them!

Art Talk XXL Fruits – Part 1
Art Talk XXL Fruits – Part 2

ART TALK?

As you know I post my art on Instagram (@art.bythefran) but sometimes I feel like the context is missing. Like: what was my inspiration for the whole series and how did the artworks changed while I was painting them. Very often I start out with an idea and as I go along it changes into something different. You don’t see that when you just see end results. So that’s why I have started recording these short videos. To guide you through my artistic process and show you my art in real life, with me for scale haha!

THE INTENTIONS OF MY ART TALK

My intention is to keep recording these Art Talk-videos with every new series op paintings I finish. There’s so much going on behind the scenes in my art studio and I think it’s a shame not to tell you about it and show it to you. It really is about the process of making art. With all its unpredictability and serendipity.

first draft of plum in space summer 2019 in catalonia
First draft of Plum in space – summer 2019
second draft: plum on earth, autumn 2019 back home
Changed it into Plum on Earth – autumn 2019
art talk about how my art comes together: plum in space, oil on canvas by the fran, visual artist 2020
Added shadow and more texture in the plum
art talk about how my art comes together: plum in space, oil on canvas by the fran, visual artist 2020
Added colour and to the leaves
art talk about how my art comes together: plum in space, oil on canvas by the fran, visual artist 2020
Final alterations before discarding it – I really hated the painting at that moment – winter 2019
art talk about how my art comes together: plum in space, oil on canvas by the fran, visual artist 2020
Trying something new: making it a yellow plum – spring 2020
art talk about how my art comes together: plum in space, oil on canvas by the fran, visual artist 2020
Final painting: Yellow plum, back in space, summer 2020.

WHAT IT IS NOT

It’s not my intention to ‘explain’ my art or to put some sort of deep meaning into it during my art talk. I leave that up to the viewer, up to you. I strongly believe explaining art is killing it. Information is key but forced meaning means the death of it. I create art because it gives me freedom. I don’t want to force the viewers look in some direction. On the contrary! I would love you to come up with your own way of looking at it. Your way of viewing it within your personal or cultural art history.