• Maria Harding

The story behind my new In Flight series

Updated: May 2, 2020

Back at the beginning of November last year, I woke up one day, and the world looked very different... I was seeing everything in double. As you can imagine, this was scary and disorientating, and thus began the months long journey of trying to get to the bottom of why this was happening.

I was passed on from specialist to specialist, with eye tests, brain scans and more eye tests. Not only was I seeing double but I also had a constant headache, making it almost impossible to do any work.

Thankfully all the scary things like tumors/stroke had been ruled out, but it was frustrating that the doctors couldn’t find a diagnosis. The best they could find was that I had a low result in a blood test for an auto immune disease that affects the eye muscles.

It made me realise how visual my world and work is, and that being able to see properly is the most important thing to me. I would, without a doubt, have my eyesight over any other sense.

I’m now on medication and doing eye exercises and things are a lot better but I still get double vision when I get tired.

Whilst going through all of this, rather than not paint, I started painting in a more abstract way (I couldn’t see too well so my usual style of painting detailed faces was near impossible.) I played with colour blends, inks, oils, mark making and composition using broad brush strokes. I let go of any expectations of my work being of a certain standard or for any other reason other than to enjoy the process. It’s been a very therapeutic practice, in what otherwise was a scary and distressing time. I haven’t shared any of this work with you, because it’s been a personal therapy. But it’s funny how the universe works sometimes isnt’ it? My playing around with paint in a more abstract way has opened my eyes to a more intuitive way of working. And thus a new series of paintings are emerging in the studio which I am now ready to share.

For now I’m calling this series ‘In flight’ and for me it’s about embracing the process of painting – using sweeping strokes to show movement, and expressing my love of birds and their magical ability of being able to fly so effortlessly and gracefully. I am still, and always have been fascinated with flying and if you have been following me for a while, then you know that birds are a common theme in my paintings. I’m excited about where this new series is going, and will keep you posted when I have some new paintings/prints to share. For now, I will get back to making them!

#painting #studio #artist #healthscare #abstractart #canvas #birds #flying #movement

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