"Falter" (2013) by Mel Ede
Several years ago I attended an interview for a Fine Art Masters course at Brighton University. The interview was challenging and needless to say I didn’t get accepted. This knocked my confidence more than I realised at the time. In fact, it led me to cease painting altogether.
After a long creative break I took up painting again this year and 4 months ago I completed a painting I started several years earlier. I’m not sure why I decided to start again; I think it was something to do with getting older and thinking about old hopes and dreams. Around this time I had the pleasure of meeting my “art hero”, Peter Halley, whose work, both artistically and intellectually, has always inspired me. Peter asked me if I was an artist and it dawned on me that I wasn’t, or at least, I didn’t feel I was anymore. Somewhere along the line I had forgotten how much I enjoyed being creative and it was meeting Halley that prompted me to complete that lost and forgotten painting.
The painting I completed (still untitled…I just call it “the green one”!) is one of my favourite pieces and is what led me to start my newest painting, titled “Falter”.
My perpetual love of modernist architecture, concrete and what I call “nature’s grains” (surfaces found in nature; mud, chalk, stone etc.) mean that texture is now more prominent in my work. In “Falter” I used a textured spray paint to allude to walls but juxtaposed them with reflective, shimmering surfaces through the use of glitter and pearlescent mediums. The intention here is not one of subversion, but of union, the bringing together of both natural and artificial textures (naturalficial if you will!)
For some time I have thought that my paintings were abstract self-portraits. I felt that my studies on paper were an interpretation of me or what I was thinking or feeling at the time. Then the paintings were what I wanted to be, how I wanted to think or feel. Ironically, the person who interviewed me for that Masters course inadvertently complimented me when he said that my sketchbook studies were better than my finished paintings!
To me, my latest painting feels more subdue than my other works, even with the addition of glitters and the bright orange pane. My approach was more intuitive and unlike before, I didn’t do any studies on paper. The composition, colours and textures were changed throughout the process and evolved into the finished piece. I think it was important for me to investigate new mediums and use different tools to create “Falter”. After such a long time away from painting I had to remember what it was I used to love so much about it, which, as it turns out was simply the process.