Artist Voice: What lies underneath?

‘All that remains’ acrylic on paper study by Rebecca Gallop

This week I have been reflecting on painting, spending some time rummaging through my most recent small painting studies, and writing about my thoughts on fear around painting. The plan was to look for a sense of what direction to take my art, to tease out the resistance and fear of putting paint to canvas, when I came across this small painting from this summer.

Now, its not chocolate box pretty, I totally get that, its quite dark, and spiritual. I called it ‘underneath’ as it isn’t at all what I initially set out to paint. I went with my intuitive sense, and over a period of adding layers and stripping it back, faces started to appear in the painting. At first I was a little take aback, but the more I painted, the more I felt like they were speaking to me, shouting out from the paper, to be seen not covered up. So I have left them just as I found them.

The more I observe this painting, the more hidden faces I see, maybe it’s just me. I like it, I connect to it, and while its a little obscure in a way, thats what draws me in to it. There is something more to the process of painting that can be really hard to capture, when it is intuitive, its coming from a source that is tapped into, more like soul work, more like an illusion, the unconscious, which is unique, like a signature that can’t be replicated. I sense, on reflection, when observing this painting, that it represents a part of myself that is fascinated by death, decay, archaeology, what is left behind, what lies underneath, remains, rituals, beliefs…

I’m starting to realise that sometimes it’s about embracing the symbiotic nature of myself in my work and not get too hung up on the outcome, but focus on the process and curiously see where that leads me. This realisation reflection work that takes place in the therapy room, being ‘in’ process, is a messy, confusing at times space to be, a liminal space, but also insightful and healing.

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