June 2021: New series of original abstract paintings!

pink and blue original abstract painting by aisling drennan, original abstract painting online uk

Three months ago I began a new series of original abstract paintings that I’ve virtually shared as lockdown had cancelled open studio visits and exhibitions- it’s been quite the journey!

I decided to be very open and share the making of these new paintings with the online space through my Instagram and YouTube channel. I’ve never done this before and honestly, it’s a bit nerve-wracking making videos of yourself painting or discussing what you’ve been doing ‘live’ to your phone screen! I couldn’t help but wonder, is this of interest, will people actually want to watch this? But then I remembered how much I like to watch people make a painting or indeed do anything creative. I find it relaxing and lose myself in thought about how individual creativity is to each maker. See my first YouTube video where I give an overview of my painting practice and what moves me in painting terms- https://youtu.be/LaB_40rfrUk

I’m continually intrigued by how paintings are made, the time they’re given, the frustration they cause and the point of success they deliver when you realise you’ve made something that will really make a mark on your painting practice or the point of failure when you realise you’ve royally screwed up a painting- sometimes we win and sometimes s*&t happens!

Opening my studio to the online space helped me connect with a broader audience

However, people did find it interesting to watch me paint and tuned in every Wednesday at 6pm UK time to hear and see me chat about the paintings developments on my Instagram stories. It was great fun really although I would not have thought of it as fun three months ago! I’ve had an amazing response and built relationships with followers through DM’s and now as things open up they are planning to visit my studio or to come and see a future exhibition. (You can look back over these chats on the Highlights section on my Instagram page, see April studio, May studio & June studio. If you’re not a fan of the gram then see my YouTube here). I’m still chatting live every Wednesday about all things painting and life as an artist if you would like to tune it.

Soooo, many paint tubes later, a couple of worn-out paint brushes and one or two reworked paintings this new series of abstract paintings is complete. I like this stage of work because yes there’s a lot of admin now around the paintings as I put them ‘out there’ but it’s also a good time for reflection. I’m really pleased with this work not just for the end result but also because of what I’ve learned through the making of this series over the last couple of months. My practice has definitely grown & this is evident through the first and last paintings made ( see below) and also, because I made this work with a ‘virtual audience’ when covid restrictions would not allow the physical presence of people. 

Glory Box 40x40cm- the first completed painting
Wild is the Wind 40x40cm- the final painting

One of the highlights for me is (and I know this from feedback) that people who have watched me make these paintings  feel more familiar with what I do and with abstract painting in a general sense. While making this work I talked about my painting palette, how I select colours, my inspiration and how I begin and build a painting. I also shared artists work that has influenced me such as Joan Mitchel, Sean Scully, Fiona Rae and exhibitions that have impacted how I make paintings ( Moma’s retrospective of Willem de Koonings work, Charline Von Heyl at ICA Boston. I chatted about my art education at Central Saint Martins & the Galway art school, CCAM, GMIT and of course shared the highs and lows of being an artist. The best high from the last three months was being able to exhibit again through ‘Inspire 2021’ with ArtCan in D-Contemporary gallery in Mayfair and the best low was realising when a couple of paintings were not working, they had failed and were washed over with turpentine. Failing is part of my painting process. I’ve learned to accept it and move on, I’ll still have learned something!

original abstract paintings, green and blue abstract painting by artist aisling drennan
Conversations with Myself, 40x40cm- a painting that originally failed & was reworked. It’s now one of my favourites.

Showing both sides of the journey of making original paintings, the happiness and the irritation over the course of three months of work is authentic and real. People respond to this way of showing, it’s taught me a lot and I think I’ll be chatting to my phone screen again when I make my next set of paintings!

Thanks for reading and find my latest contemporary paintings here, Aisling x

Aisling Drennan is an award-winning abstract artist with a London, UK-based art studio.

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