What we like about abstract art is the freedom of interpreting it as you see it. The beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and an abstract painting can easily resonate with something within the person who admires such painting. Abstract art always tries to capture an idea and then the artist has the freedom to execute it using their own techniques, colour combinations and compositions. If all of these combined speak to the viewer, then the artist’s effort pays off. “Light Show” by Candida Slater is such a painting that caught our eyes, spoke to us and we wanted to find out more.
Where did the inspiration come from for this piece?
I usually start with the colours that I want to use and the mood that I want to convey. I have an idea of the structure – abstract paintings don’t work without one as they have to balance – but pictures always take on their own life. The background is the key to the painting, but often goes wrong and I have to start again. It is easier if I use one colour such as white, black or gold, but if I want to convey depth and fluidity and an impression of infinite space, the merging of different shades can go muddy and it is always a messy process.
What is the creative process when creating your abstract art?
I paint in my kitchen so I have to mop up as I go. I then leave it to dry for at least 24 hours, preferably longer. In principle, acrylic paint dries almost immediately but in practice takes longer. The really tense moment comes when I have to put the main motif on the painting. This has to be done very fast in order to trap the energy in the paint and there are no second thoughts. I have to psych myself up to do it. If it is a disaster, I have to start again. If it looks more or less okay, I need to leave it for several days to see if it is finished or not. There are twin dangers – going on when you really need to stop, and thinking you have finished when the picture still needs something more. Stepping away from a picture and giving it space is very hard to do. Abstract painting never lies so when I have finished a painting, I can see what my mood really was, and pick up the undertones, even if I thought it was something quite different.
How long would this work have taken you?
Light Show took two sessions over a couple of days to paint. The burst of colours only took a few minutes. I assembled all the paints I wanted to use and my brushes, loaded with more than one colour, and applied the paint very quickly. It is exhilarating when this goes well (depressing when it does not) and surprisingly tiring. Although good pictures are usually painted quite fast, a lot of paintings don’t work, so the combined time and effort is much greater. Vanishing a painting pulls the whole picture together and gives it depth but you have to wait at least a week, ideally a month, before applying it.
I find painting is a great joy and very cathartic. It has got me through some tough times, not least, of course, this last difficult year. I am always astonished when people want to buy my pictures, but very pleased. The theme of rapid pulses of racing colours is one to which I return quite often. Here is a version that I painted some years ago that hangs in my sitting room.