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Stuck: Around the world in 80 Abstracts

A project to bring me back to life. To remind me of the beauty in the world, at home or in the furthest corners of the world. A journey through old travel photos, failed paintings an adventure in art if you will. A experiment in looking at old things, in new ways. And what a trip it was.


Ahhh the memories, the moments, the emotions all the feels came flooding back when I opened a box of old travel memorbilia. I'd kept a diary/scrap book from my first trip overseas when I was 18. Yes before Social Media and Digital photography, you kept things like the plane ticket, ticket snubs, maps and flyers. It would seem that my sub conscious was ready to tell me something when I opened a pandoras box of travel nostalgia. It was time to rediscover the world and my creativity. Having been ill for a while and confined in various forms of lockdown for the past 12 months, I was stuck. Languishing. Frozen in time. Mentally confined. Physically anchored. In an attempt to budge these feelings, I dove head first into my belief that art can heal. I'll tell you something for free...it does!


It started with a picture from a trip to Portugal many years ago. Something about the colours and composition of this picture caught my attention. I couldn't stop looking at it. I'd seen this picture before, I'd taken it, I'd lived in the moment, but this day it made me stop in my tracks. And so I sat in my studio, grabbed a old A5 painting and just went for it. Mark-Making, blending colours, looking for patterns, shapes, line, contrast - emersing myself in the moment. It was in that moment, that I was back in Portugal, wandering aimlessly and soaking up the sunshine and shadows. ( which is what I called this painting ) This feeling of pure creative joy, shifted something in me and I was hooked. So as you might have guess I did 79 more and so Stuck: Around the world in 80 Abstracts was born.


Having always loved a happy snap, I take a lot of photos. And I mean a lot. So my travel albums are choc-a-block with every detail, colour, texture and shape I can find - a treasure chest of inspiration documented for when they speak to me. Inspiration can strike at any time. I truely believe in the power of art and the ability of a photograph or painting to transfer the creator or audience back in time to place. The creation of Art, allows not only the artist but the audience to relive a moment, to return to a place in time. To Inhale the memories, good or bad. To be transported to another world. A sense of feeling I desperately wanted to create, after all I've been stuck for long enough.


Every abstract, lead me down a unique path. A different time, a unfamiliar place, a chapter in my life. I learnt so much about myself travelling the world, and transcribing those moments & places into art, taught me so much more about myself and my creative practice. Collaging, Mark Making, Layering, Painting, Colouring no two the same, just like no two places are the same. All 80 Abstracts represent a moment, a place, a feeling. They all represent me in some way shape or form. No holding back, just creating, feeling and deep diving into the process. Soaking up all the emotions along the way. The good, the bad, the ugly.


Now don't me wrong, it wasn't all rainbows and unicorns creating down memory lane. There were tears, table bumps and more tears. Tears from memories from the not so good times. Anger and Frustration from regrets, mistakes, wrong turns. Tears from the realisation that the past can not be undone. Tears to understand grief and let it go. Turns out, some of these places and feelings resulted in some of my most favourite creations in the project. I'll leave you to work out which ones. But also tears shed in joy and contentment. Rediscovering moments in my life which defined me, moments which changed me, moments I want to relive over and over and of course moments I'd rather forget. The highs and lows, they've made me who I am today and shaped my art practice as a result.


The freedom to just be drowning in creativity bought me so much joy. A weight lifted off my shoulders if you like. Its amazing what happens when you create for yourself and stop creating for other people. This was a truely selfish project, a project to free myself from my creative block and stagnate emotional state. I've been blessed to have so many incredible moments in my life exploring this wild and wonderful world. It was hard to stop at 80 Abstracts. Who knows maybe volume 2 will come? As I sit a reflect on the 80 Abstracts, I'm bursting with pride and a huge sense of self satisfaction. Art really does heal. Travel is a privilege and my gosh I'm happiest when I can do both. If I cant physically travel far, I'll travel journey around the world, through one abstract painting to another...


" Travel isn't always pretty. It isn't always comfortable. Sometimes it hurt, it even breaks your heart. But that's ok. The journey changes you; it should change you. it leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, on your body. You take something with you and hopefully you leave something good behind " Anthony Bourdain.


Travel on my creatives

Tish x


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