Why write my first ever blog post about this one adjective?
It has dawned on me gradually over the years that authenticity is all important to me, it's what I look for in other peoples art, it's what I understand and have learned to hold dear, and the reason why some artists have grown on me while others who I loved at one point have slipped by the wayside. I need to believe that the person who is talking to me either personally or through their work has spent time looking, feeling, understanding and making something they truly believe in and care about.
So, what does authenticity actually mean in terms of art? The dictionary uses the synonyms graphic, evocative, realistic, true to life, lifelike, faithful, clear, detailed, lucid, striking, dramatic, picturesque, lively, stimulating, interesting, fascinating, scintillating.... not necessarily all qualities I would look for in work.
Or 'an authentic depiction of a situation' being reliable, dependable, trustworthy, authoritative, honest, faithful.... To me this holds more value.
The reason these thoughts are now surfacing is that I've reached a bit of a turning point. On one hand I have an exhibition finishing next week and on the other, the publicity materials arriving today for my solo show in a few months. In the void between the current exhibition opening and now, I have 'caught up with myself' spent time thinking and feel the need to make a development stride. I paint outside in all weathers and hold dear the fact that the elements force me to make work which is less detailed but still faithful to the surroundings. While sitting painting on the moors this week I finally realised that to move my work forward in the direction that's pulling me I need to spend more time out of the elements and in the studio, building layers and layers into the paint. Maybe the work needs to be more influenced by my surroundings every day here in the dales rather than a depiction of a particular view.
Can I work this through in time to have some new paintings I really believe in for the next exhibition? Will I produce anything that makes me feel it is an authoritative image of the Northern landscape? I've no idea but sincerely hope so! Whichever way its the next part of the journey and I need to make a start on it.