Jack Shadbolt was one of those artists who never flagged in his pursuit of variety. A great reader, writer, speaker, teacher, wanderer, visitor to museums and observer of nature.
While an artist's hand may naturally slip toward homeostasis and repetition, the human heart reaches for variety and novelty. Whether our work is representational or abstract, monumental or modest, here are a few of Jack's thoughts... :
Make a little thing and then a large one.
Make a simple shape and then a complex one.
Make conjoining edges soft, hard, run over, or falling short.
When repeating motifs, vary size and direction.
Don't fear winking, blinking, teasing, humming humour.
Cruise the work for further potentials for imagery.
Obfuscate, cover up, smudge or overhaul boring passages.
Make gradations where possible, both wet and dry.
Mix things up--numbers, owls, flags, butterflies.
Look for opportunities to monumentalize and feature.
Let motifs cross over and interfere with other motifs.
Look for things that suggest other things, and hint further.
Relish the opulence, lusciousness and seduction of paint.
Point, and let things react against one another.
Patch, and let things lie close and love each other.
Try to think of and live in the fineries of Nature: cocoons, flowers, birds, butterflies, eggs, reflections, leaves, sticks, bones, echoes, etc. Think also of emblems, badges, mandalas, signs, glyphs, totems, birth, wonder, light. Rawness, death, decay and disfigurement also have their place. Life and art is a bombardment of variety.