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The language of paint II

When engaging with the physicality of paint, an alchemy takes place, and we can make equivalents for emotions and memories. Colour is much more than what we see – it can also be a translation of what we feel. Using colour digitally is a totally different experience, although combining analogue with the digital is a very exciting way forward.

When you choose to train in the visual arts, you can embrace a different way of life from the usual university education system. Our principal outcomes are visual and lie outside of words.

The practice of the language of paint is a slow, deliberate, and disciplined process. There are no short-cuts to gaining fluency in the six visual languages of line, form, space, movement, tone, and colour. The visual languages are gained through embodied cooperation with your chosen materials. This is how you gain experience in expressing your humanity, ideas, and emotions. The language of painting lies outside of the written word.

Music and dance are other artistic expressions that don’t necessarily need the written word. This does not mean we are mute – we are certainly not rejecting speaking, reflecting, and feedback. Of course, we do these things anyway. I just think that written outcomes for our creativity should come second. Visual expression should not be judged and compressed back into words in order to be valued and understood.

The painter’s unique form of expression should always stand on its own two feet. At art school, I was always taught that the business of the painter was held solely within the painting, even to the loss of a title. It needed to stand alone without explanation, otherwise it had failed. Whether you agree or not, this is an important question:

Why does the painter need to translate the painting back into the restrictions of a word culture? It’s an absurdity to have to translate all of this visual depth, meaning and complexity into a completely different form of communication. Why? Who says so?

Creatives need outcomes that are independent of words. Art colleges will become fully inclusive when they provide a system that does not tyrannise artists with word-based outcomes.