Time for a New Project?

Bob Atkins-221

Well, that went well… my bewildered ‘after sales’ look 

So my current show The Painted Garden has more or less sold out, and I’m sat on a pile of cash and fairly wallowing on a tide of public approval.


The thing is, and this is a sticky one artist friends and readers ; do I stick to what’s obviously a wining formula and paint ‘Return Of the Painted Garden’ , or chuck the whole thing in and start again?

Of course I simplify to make a point, The Painted Garden has been a big chunk of my creative life for two years and like any project it’s never so much finished, as assimilated, built upon, parked, postponed….but should it become the only thing I do?

This is a perennial problem for painters, and I think, a moment of danger. So many of the artists whose work I admired when I started painting in 2000, are painting more or less the same thing 16 years later.  If being an artist can be reduced to a singularity it might be this: ‘freedom of creative expression’.

I get that freedom of creative expression is a very noble idea until it meets the free market,and next months impending bills, I understand that not everybody feels a need to constantly reinvent themselves, and I accept that it makes sense to build one’s style and reputation in a consistent way.

And yet…

Then I look at artists I once admired – no revered – and feel sad when I see them ‘cranking out the turkeys’, it’s just such a bloody pointless waste of time, potential and talent. At some point they must have been original, must have felt vibrant, must have felt that thrill when somebody looked at their new work for THE FIRST TIME.

I claim no virtue here, as a casual Google search will reveal I’ve been stuck in many a rut, financial and otherwise, until 2016.

I don’t think I’m ready to give up that new buzz I got from presenting a whole new direction for my creative self, so it’s goodbye to gardens and hello to a whole new artistic direction for me as I’ve applied to hire a modest studio in The Dales.


It’s a bit cooler in the Dales  so Jane wore her knitted Burka! 

I haven’t got a clue how to paint them, or indeed what I’ll paint, but I’ll come to it with an open mind and very much look forward to the thrill of bringing some more fresh ideas to the New British Art Gallery in a couple of years, if ill living and overwork don’t carry me off first…

Meanwhile I have a few cracking canvases which never made it to the finished show, so unless and until I get the lease I’m looking for on a my new Dales studio, it’s back to the garden for me.


2 thoughts on “Time for a New Project?

  1. Good luck in The Dales Martin. Norfolk will be a sadder place without you but I’m so looking forward to seeing your new work. I hope you will give us a tantalising glimpse now and again.


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