It seems that every time I’ve sat down to journal since the beginning of 2019, I’ve started with some variation of “times are strange”. I’m not sure where to begin, so let’s begin with the flash of inspiration.
It was the first week of January after Christmas spent in Dijon (yes, like the mustard) and I had just returned solo to Paris for New Years Eve, after a very full week of French family time. This visit, I had brought water-colour pencils and cold-pressed paper along with the intention of zero screen time and 100% arts and crafts time. A soothing way to finish off the year.
While I do paint acrylic, I don’t really regard myself as a “classic” acrylic painter. I typically paint on large birch boards, decoupaged with various papers and gel mediums, and outlined with high-flow markers. I really can’t remember the last time that I painted acrylic on canvas, exclusively.
While on holiday, my boyfriend’s dad offered his acrylic paints for me to use and I put together a small acrylic piece one evening that spurred a sudden A-ha moment. I really didn’t think I could paint like this. Most of my larger paintings have been long-term realizations that have taken years to reveal themselves. The one hanging over our couch was started in 2015 and was only “finished” this last year (we’ll see about that).
So here I was in shock and awe, not by what I had painted but by how I had painted it. And just like that, I levelled up and ✨poof✨ the block was gone. The bars of my self-constructed prison suddenly dissolved.
So I decided that it was time to begin work on a series of acrylic on canvas. The theme ?
Sentient Surveillance Systems inspired by the sudden increase in security cameras that I noticed in the metro, upon my return to Paris.. It appears that somebody at SNCF has a little voyeuristic streak in them.. You can see some of the new editions to the camera collection of Mairie de Montrouge below. I counted a total of 15, just on the train platform— a camera for every camera’s blind-spot.
I’m not usually attracted to this kind of subject matter but the takeover of surveillance has been blatant and shocking. I couldn’t help but be fascinated.
And so the painting continues. I’m working on number 4 as we speak. Stay tuned, I’ll be adding snapshots and commentary of completed pieces to the blog, as they’re completed.