Picturing synergy

Prelude insitu1Presenting my two latest works of art as they head off to the gallery in time for an exhibition opening at Gallery Fifty Five this weekend.

I’ve talked before about the theme of “blossoming” that seems to have permeated my world this year – and, true to form, that theme has continued to make its way onto canvas, as you can now see.

The scanned images had already been on the website for two weeks by the time the “hanging” photos were taken and, in many ways, it is only on reaching this moment of putting it up on the wall that a painting’s wider purpose really speaks to me, telling me whether it “works” as a composition (and as the point of focus that is a work of art) and, if so, why.

As I know I’ve said before, the intention to paint this or that comes through as more of an assertive instinct than a deeply cogitated thing and it is often weeks, even months, later that I get the deeper message from my own work – or tie its singular purpose together with other paintings in a way that builds a longer-running dialogue – and this is really where painting becomes like channeling, delivering messages to myself.

Brilliance insitu6

These two pieces are similar but by no means the same – and I’ve noticed how people tend to really like one or the other, and that’s fine – but as I came to that pause-point of describing them for the website, the word that came to mind for both was “synergy”, and especially so when it came to photographing them.

As I put them up on the wall and began taking shots from different angles, what really spoke to me was the very evident synergy between the “darker” and “lighter” aspects of each composition – how the one really wouldn’t be all it was without the other; how they dance, weave and play together in ways that I was hardly aware of as I worked with my brushes. Especially with “Brilliance” (above right) there is a side from which it seems to be all about depth of foliage, shadow and the interaction of the deeper tones and yet another angle from which it all seems to be about radiance and full-blown light – like two paintings in one. Yet as you pull back and take the overview, it becomes much more of a playful dance of both, with emphasis determined by whatever perspective you happen to be taking, which points back at there being a choice – the viewer’s choice – as to where to stand or hang it in order to get more of one than the other.

Prelude insitu5With ‘Prelude‘ (left) the differential between brightest white background and its subject is so softened, its colour so subtle and hardly there at all in places and yet, still, there would be no subject to look at if it were not for these elements of contrast and what looks, close up, like so many brownish-grey smudges on a pristine white background. Its only on stepping back from it that the fully cohesive picture emerges…and the brightest white light seem to ignite out of nowhere!

Neither painting would work at all without this synergy – this cooperation to produce an effect greater than the sum of their parts – between its elements of dark and light.

As in life!

Brilliance insitu3What does synergy in action look like? We see it being demonstrated all the time, out there, in Nature and it’s the very dance of life that we are, including all the depths and shadows, all the bursts of radiance and everything in between. Its only on stepping back from it all and trying on different perspectives that we get the fuller picture…and start to allow how its all fine, its all contributing to the bigger picture of YOU and that picture wouldn’t work without all of these elements (however dark, vague, messy or otherwise lacking they may seem to be, close up).

This is why I’m including SO many different angles of exactly the same two paintings – hoping to convey something of what I’m talking about and, if you happen to be in the vicinity of Hampshire (UK) this weekend, you can see for yourself.

The exhibition at Gallery Fifty Five opens this Saturday between 11am – 1pm when you can come and meet the small and extremely varied handful of artists taking part and enjoy some refreshments in this wonderfully eclectic gallery space. And if you miss out on that, it continues on for four months so there’s still plenty of time to pop along and see the eight pieces I have on display – all on a blowsily floral theme this time around – so I hope you can make it!

Click images to scroll through:

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About Helen White

Helen White is a professional artist and published writer with two primary blogs to her name. Her themes pivot around health and wellbeing, expanded consciousness and ways of noticing how life is a constant dance between the deeply subjective and the collective-universal, all of which she explores with a daily hunger to get to know herself better. Her blog Living Whole shines a light on living with high sensitivity, dealing with trauma and healing from chronic health issues. Spinning the Light is an extremely broad-based platform where she elucidates the everyday alchemy of relentless self-exploration. A lifetime of "feeling like an outsider" slowly emerged as neurodivergence (being a Highly Sensitive Person with ADHD, synaesthesia, sensory processing challenges and other defecits overlapping with giftedness). All of these topics are covered in her blogs, written from two distinct vantage points so, if you have enjoyed one of them, you may wish to explore the other for a different, yet entirely complimentary, perspective.
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11 Responses to Picturing synergy

  1. I love both of them Helen – they really are luminous. I think I probably love the cherry blossom more, simply because I love cherry blossom, but I love the way you’ve captured the light in both.


    • Helen White says:

      Its my favourite too Andrea and a few people have said that now. There was a bit of panic yesterday, the painting ‘went missing’ at the gallery for, basically, the whole day of the opening and I was utterly heartbroken…fortunately it showed up, had been accidentally wrapped up and stored away with the work that was taken down at the end of the last show…but the whole escapade made me realise how much it meant to me and that I want to paint more like this.


  2. Gorgeous paintings, Helen. Filled with light and energy. Both calming and energizing at the same time. Would love to see them in person sometime. Best of luck to you with the new exhibit.


  3. Karin Van den Bergh says:

    Gorgeous paintings!! I love how the light plays and differentiates perspective (as you said) in ‘Brilliance’. I’m always in such awe with your art, Helen.


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