...I don’t know about you, but I like to surround myself with things that brighten my day and there’s no better way to do this this than in my own studio, a place which is completely my own and where I’m in charge of the life enhancing stuff!
When I'm not mixing my media, I love to paint - which is a completely different skill! I have spent a large portion of my lifelong practice making perfectly serviceable paintings of various subjects, but my interest in creative invention has always led me off down an experimental path which erred more towards three dimensional art. I'd never hung around long enough to really develop a style or properly decided what it was I wanted to paint. And consequently, my paintings never had that magic ingredient where I actually loved, as opposed to liked, what I painted.
Being a sculptor also felt safe and sat more naturally with me, a place where I had a defined beginning, middle and end to the process of making a piece of work, whereas painting involved much more risk! And then there was the fear of pastiche - I'd studied hundreds of paintings and every time I painted something I was sure I'd seen it before...aaaggghhhhh!!
Out of the paintings that produced over the years, there was the odd painting that just worked and I was particularly pleased with and then there was the benefit of hindsight where I realised work that I hadn't looked at for a long time or even painted over, but had taken a photgraph of, wasn't as bad as I thought - this is perfectly normal of course...and also really annoying!
In school, my art teacher (Mrs Barker - all credit to you!) loved the work of Marc Chagall, and so for a while I was influenced by that - "The layers.." she said, "Look at the layers!". On foundation, my painting tutor championed De Kooning - still a favourite painter of mine - but to my horror, the art room became a sea of De Kooning-esque painters and I eventually scuttled off to the safety of the sculpture department where students were showing more individuality and then proceeded to use the whole terms supply of PVA up on a single creation ("The layers!"). At degree level there were painters already way better than me and I was not permitted to specialise in both sculpture and painting and so the obvious choice was to continue with sculpture.
Left to my own devices, post degree, I was determined to explore painting. I am a great admirer of Lucien Freud so my first thought, given the years of life drawing and anatomy that I had studied, was to try and paint the figure like Lucien.
It unsurprisingly transpired that I could only manage an unsatisfactory approximation, and...lets just say the occassional life model turned out to be a little "fruity"...which was kind of off putting! I found an alternative subject in the sub-tropical plants I had photographed and drawn from my stays on the Isles of Scilly, magnifying close up images of them onto large canvasses. These were quite successful both as paintings and in sales, but after a while, I decided I didn't want to be pigeonholed as a flower painter so early on as there was so much art to try out and went in search of creating something more original. I began stylizing my flower motifs and the shape of my canvasses until in time they became...um...sculptural. This work, circa 1998, became the origins of the sculptural work I make it today.
But lockdown changed all this - suddenly with the time and freedom to explore creatively again and having concluded that it was abstraction that posed the biggest challenge, I took the opportunity to begin painting seriously. From the De Kooning days, I've always loved the subversive and free nature of the abstract expressionists, and so I used this enforced sabbatical to dedicate myself to painting and to this time, not be discouraged. I painted over the same canvasses over and over and over again, learning what I liked and disliked, what I produced naturally stylistically until approximately three years later, I was heading in the direction I wanted to go.
If you have an interest in painting, do go over an have a look at my painting website www.taniahollandpaintings.co.uk . I will be adding artwork for sale as it becomes available and a portion of sales will go to The Hospice of The Good Shepherd and The Motor Neurone Disease Association.