Sunday, July 15, 2012

Intuition Over Conscious Reasoning

   I have needed to think about my "way" of painting. What it is that I am expressing through my artwork, as I will be interviewed in a few weeks time by a local gallery director for an upcoming exhibition. I need to choose 3-4 paintings for the exhibition. Work that represents my style as an artist. These will be photographed for the brochure and then the paintings will be installed in the gallery. I hate these interviews and artists statements, but they force me to get a little more clarity each time and a greater sense of direction...I guess?               

So, what am I about? 
What are my paintings about? 
What is the process I use and why?

    I didn't go to university to study art. I am self-taught, apart from the one year at TAFE to study shop window dressing and numerous art classes. Some years ago I was in a crisis. I fell into such a deep depression and could not find my way out. It lasted for months and the months ran into years. I did not know what to do and whatever it was I was meant to do, no one could do it for me. Suicidal thoughts were my only refuge from that insidious time of depression.
Intuitive Art by J Pfeiffer
 Eventually I came to understand that for me, access to the arts and creativity were an intrinsic part of my mental health and quality of life. So I pursued the creative life with all my being, because my life literally depended on it. I know now, that this is what I was meant to be doing all along, but somehow it got lost as I was playing out other roles in my life ....I learned the hard way...more difficult than any university course.
Intuitive Art by J Pfeiffer
Naturally my artwork has been quite varied as I've explored the world of painting. One of the key factors  I really love is freedom. Freedom to have a clean start on the canvas. Freedom to loosely, lay down paint and paper and sand and glue or whatever, in an arbitrary way to begin with, and then build up the textures and paint one layer at a time, without a plan, not knowing where I will end up. I like stepping into the unknown. This is both exhilarating and terrifying. I am relying totally on my past experience and my intuition is guiding me all the way. The process is an adventurous journey for me as I constantly have to make decisions about what step I will take next and how. Mistakes are reworked into something pleasing, there are unexpected surprises and out of nothing, something is eventually created. 
The art materials are not my slaves but my team mates and they often lead the way as we work together through this creative process. In choosing colour, I usually work with the three or four harmonious colours that are side by side or analogous to each other on the colour wheel and then throw in a complementary colour to add some spark.
I am drawing on the vast collection of thoughts, feelings observations and images that are daily filed away in my conscious and subconscious mind. It seems quite natural to me that "The Creator" is as much a part of this process as my breathing. I open myself to the Divine in my daily living, in the hope that my ego, which endlessly lets me down, will take a back seat. I like to think this too is reflected in my artwork. I've noticed re-occuring themes in my work like circles and squares or windows, which I think depict the way nature juxtaposes the manufactured or man-made. The circles represent nature and the squares represent that which is man-made. I love texture and shape - colour - line - I would have a blank canvas without these elements.

 Favourite artists: David Nimmer, Mary Todd Beam and Trevor Jones.


  1. As usual, a very interesting and uplifting description of your artistic journey Dear Daughter Janet. I have made comments before on your WA holiday trip without success . . . put it down to my 80 years.
    I would like to say how much I admire those last featured images of your talents. You make me wish I was young again when I used to work some of my artistic skill at the blacksmiths forge with scroll work etc.
    I realize now that we only get one go at it and like you are showing with your creativity, I should have tried a bit harder.
    You might remember my metal tree creation 'Midwinter' which won a few awards and was stolen on its trip from UK to Australia after I had been at Micheal's for two years.
    Janet . . . . you don't seem to need any encouragement from me to create beautiful artistry but if by chance it you do, and it helps . . . .you've got it! . . . . .Much love and admiration from Bill, Your Dad x

    1. Thanks so much Dad. Your comment really touched me. I felt it came from a heartfelt and sincere place and I really appreciated you writing it. I do remember the tree very well. I loved it and missed it when it disappeared. Maybe that is why skeleton tree's often appear in my paintings. Wouldn't it be weird if your tree turned up on the antique road show! The art gene is in your sister, in you, and I hope to continue the tradition. Janet x