I am happy to finally share the stories & vision behind my brand new collection of original paintings titled "The Journey".
As you probably guessed from the title, the entire collection represents a journey, and is themed with imagery that suggests travel, adventure, destinations, journeys and movement of some sort.
It has been really fun to explore these new topics and to create such a varied body of work.
Ideas for my new collections usually stem from one painting that comes first which I usually call my 'statement' piece. In this collection, it was this painting below:
I had an image in mind that I wanted to paint, of someone running down a building-lined street, but I couldn't quite imagine the scene fully enough to be able to paint it. Then one evening as I was scrolling through instagram, a beautiful photograph appeared, which almost matched the image I already had in my head perfectly. (This photographer's instagram account is @thechaosdiaries if anyone wants to take a look!)
Fortunately the photographer was happy for me to use their photo as a reference image for the painting, so I was able to create the artwork above!
I think this piece sums up the entire collection very well, as it represents that momentum, that movement, that sudden drive to run at a fast paced towards the future. It captures the essence of a new found freedom.
The title comes from the idea that there is a 'certainty', a faith that specific things will take place. You wouldn't run if you weren't sure. You would be dithering. Changing your mind, walking back and forth.
In the painting, the woman is running towards what looks like a dead end. It looks like she will be forced to stop, and walk back to where she came from. I wanted to paint what I have felt sometimes - which is that naturally, things look like you will have to stop, things look like obstacles, and sometimes it looks like there is no way forward. But the blockage at the end is fading, and I see her running towards it, and like an illusion, the walls dissolve and open up into a space where she can keep running.
In this collection, you may also have noticed that I have used imagery from both the past & the present, which is another way of capturing "a passing of time" a transition from what was to what is now. A way of showing that 'the journey' never really ends - it's an ongoing process through the ages.
This piece shows an old fashioned London bus in a foggy night.
It represents the illumination of the next steps, of what once was in the dark.
Like on a journey, there are moments of slowing down, of waiting, and moments of high speed, high energy, fast paced action. I had this contrast in my creation process, from sitting down to sketch the fine details in the charcoal work, to this flurry of a painting above which was created almost entirely in one session!
"Can't be far off" is full of hope and a child-like excitement, that the destination is not far off, and arrival at this place will bring fulfilment and will be worth the travel.
Back with the fog again, to represent the unknown, the fear of the unknown. "All these hidden things" is about the journey through moments where the vision feels like it has been lost, and the way forward becomes a difficult maze. This piece was created to look a letter, in a certain light all these words will appear (you can't read them). Because in moments when I felt lost I relied on promises and things that have been written to continue the journey with confidence.
Sometimes the journey can feel familiar, when you think you have left something behind and moved on but you seem to find yourself travelling a similar road, wondering if you ever made progress at all or if you were just going round in circles.
These moments of doubt feel like shadows across the path, a darkness when it's supposed to be day. The only way is through.
With each collection that I create, I find myself drawn to using certain colour schemes, with one particular paint colour being something I use in every single piece. In this collection, it was an oxide red, which is an earthy, muted red tone which is very warm, and autumnal.
Before I even started the collection, I knew I wanted it to feel warm and hazy, but full of reds signalling passion for the things that lead one to embark on the journey in the first place.
Some of the work started out with normal colours, but it just didn't work for me. The painting above was inspired by a photograph that I took standing on the bridge over the motorway near Leeds. (See below)
Initially I tried to replicate the sunset blues in this photo, but the result to me was boring and was not fitting with the message I was trying to send. Just as I nearly finished, I spiced it up with my oxide red and finally felt excited about the end result.
The Journey, is one of excitement, adventure, movement, travel and expectation, but the journey is an individual experience that only you will get to live. There is only one you, doing the things you're doing, heading the direction you're heading. To forge a new path, to go where others won't go, can feel so lonely at times. Some days it will rain, the path will feel too long, but something is always there, telling you to carry on.
While the journey can only be walked alone, the letters and words throughout this collection are like messages to 'the one' who is listening or will listen in the time to come. On the journey, I am creating a trail to follow, and a blueprint for the one who will walk it after me.
There are 'highs' in the journey. Moments where I feel I am lifted up, and can see all that has been and all that will be. I travel fast, above it all, I feel like I can even see the future ahead, and know the time that is coming.
There are other times where I feel caught up in the thick of it all, the journey feels delayed, the lights blinding. I wanted the road less traveled but ended up stuck in the crowd.
It's in these moments where you have to surrender your own ideal timeline, and accept that there is no going back, so you just have to press on and wait, for as long as it takes.
There are moments when I feel fuelled, I am ready to go. The white sky is like the blank canvas of what lies ahead, but I feel ready, despite not knowing what's ahead.
The final piece in this collection, was an unintentional abstract version of the petrol station. This one literally just popped out of nowhere from my left over paint, but I love it. It feels like a great conclusion to the collection, just zooming off into something new.
Thank you for reading this small introduction to "The journey" collection. I hope you have enjoyed the work and the stories behind them. All these pieces will be available to purchase from my shop on Saturday 11th of Feb 2023.
I will be getting a few prints done too, so if you have any requests for a print of a certain painting, let me know and I can get this done for you :)
- Sophie x