I was looking through some of my more "illustrative" work the other day and came across two images that I made in 2010. The themes and colour palettes of both struck me as elements that are both naturally occurring at the moment in my more more expressive, larger painted canvasses. This is interesting to me as the process involved in making images such as The Wizard and Tiki Grooves can be a lot more planned and "tight". The pace and approach involved in the expressionist paintings I am currently working on is usually quicker and - I think - braver. Yet, the same strong, rich colours are coming out in the new paintings, as well as shapes and forms that are almost the raw material of the more formal/figurative/literal characters and props that appear in the illustrative work.
It is encouraging to me to see this happening. Once, when discussing the idea of changing my illustrative style (I was unhappy with the work that I was producing commercially at that time), someone said to me that he thought it was nigh on impossible to do such a thing: that to simply force a change to one's work and approach could not be done with any degree of authenticity or substance. Changes to approach would rather come slowly and in small measures through periods of personal experimentation and investigation.
Now I think I see what that person meant. A creative can make even dramatic changes in direction, media, intent, but in it all, there will always be something of the essential THEM in whatever they produce. If you look, you will always see colours, or shapes, or themes or attitude that speak of the person behind the art, whether that be painting, music or writing. I find that really encouraging, because it shows us how we have all been created as wonderful individuals. The best thing, therefore, that any artist can be, is themselves and that must start with being honest with oneself, which is sometimes the hardest thing to do!