Trust Whatyouknow

Trust Whatyouknow. 2022. Acrylic paint on canvas. 120 x 150cm (47 x 59 inches). SOLD.

Trust Whatyouknow is an abstract acrylic painting created for fellow artist, ceramicist Lisa Reardon. Lisa gave me a generously open brief: “A large abstract in blues. Play. Go wild. Make it your own.” (Every artist’s dream brief, right?!)

The creative vision

I wanted to really treasure the gift of this wonderfully open and fun brief by relishing in the play, being spontaneous, present and responsive to what was developing in front of me, and noticing and following what felt delightful. So I chose not to pre-plan anything at all – no theme, no composition sketches, and no process or technique plan.

I thought about what “play” and “delight” meant to me and I anchored myself to that instead. I wanted to:

  • Get physical and use my whole body in the art-making. Move, stretch, dance.
  • Make “messes”. Splash, smear, flick, throw, get paint all over myself. Use paint techniques that you can’t control, so that shapes, colours, and textures have a life of their own and the possibility of surprises.
  • Make the artwork all about the paint play. Explore what I can do with the paint. Notice and enjoy the colours, textures, lines, shapes, and sensory experiences as I’m working, and let the stuff that most delights me get prioritised as the composition develops.

The title and meaning

Right up until the point where I was tweaking and finalising the artwork, I still had no idea what it was “about” or whether it would have any other meaning beyond being an abstract in blues. As I was considering what to title the work, I asked myself what words I have for the experience of creating this piece, and what words would articulate how the finished artwork makes me feel. A title and surprisingly extensive explanation of it’s meaning evolved within minutes, as follows…

Trust Whatyouknow

“Whatyouknow is there already.You don’t have to plan it, find it, or earn it.

It wants to live through you and be expressed in the world through you. And it doesn’t care one little bit whether you feel ready, the facts and evidence agree, or other people will like or believe Whatyouknow.

Whatyouknow is so very powerful, with immense potential. But it’ll often seem paradoxically tiny and soft and just barely there. Coming and going, and moving so fast that you wonder if you really saw what you saw.

Trust Whatyouknow.

But you can’t do it alone.

Grab the threads that connect you to all the people and experiences that have ever pointed you to Whatyouknow. Dance those threads around that tiny, soft kernel of Whatyouknow until it’s safely swaddled up in all that love. And then let those people and stories celebrate, love-up, nourish, and raise your baby Whatyouknow with you. It takes a village.”

Thank you for being a part of my village, Lisa!