Interview with an Artist: Paula Kendall

Abstract artist Paula Kendall talks to Jo about her inspirations, power tools… and why thinking is a bad idea.

J M-L  How did we meet?

PK  I came into your gallery, excited by a new piece of work and asked if you wanted take a look at it.

JM-L  I had never seen anything quite like your work before in the flesh and found myself immediately drawn to the geometry and myriad textures you presented me with. What brought you to Devon?

PK  I was living in Brighton and needed to move somewhere quieter to focus more on my work, Totnes was talked about in Brighton as a creative, quirky place, I liked it and moved.

J M-L  How has living in Devon changed or developed your style?

PK   Living in Devon has given me a more spacious approach to my creativity and as a result, the work has developed in a rich and authentic way. Being surrounded by nature has a positive impact on my work, as well as present moment awareness.

J M-L That sounds wonderful but I wonder if you could tell me more about ‘present moment awareness’? What does this mean for you?  How exactly does this influence your work?

PK It means bringing conscious attention into the present, instead of past and future, so whatever you are doing, you give it your full attention. I believe most of the time, our thoughts take us out of the present moment, so by moving away from thinking, you can bring more care, attention and quality into what you are doing, ideal for me in my painting process.

J M-L  How long do you spend creating in a typical day?

PK  I usually spend around five hours working. This is usually broken up into sections of time, allowing for drying of paint and quiet reflection and tea drinking.

 J M-L  What inspires you?

PK  I am inspired by making contact with the source of creativity and listening to what manifests from that place – I meditate to do this and encourage a state of no thinking. I am always amazed at the images that arise and manifest.

J M-L  Who inspires you?

PK  I am inspired by a wide range of people including Gerhard Richter, Jean Michel Basquait, Seymour Bernstein, Brian Eno, Paul Klee, David Bowie, Eckhart Tolle and the list goes on…

J M-L Tell me why you like to work in your particular medium.

PK  I like to work mainly in acrylics because of the texture that can be created and the fast drying time, I use oils thinly for this reason. I paint on board because of its durability and because I love the effects that can be created on that type of surface, power tools are sometimes used!

JM-L Power tools? Really? 

PK  Yes, really, not for the actual painting, more for preparation.

J M-L Tell me about your subject matter.

PK My subject matter comes about firstly through play and experimentation, I limit thought during this process, then something resonates with me and the idea is developed.

J M-L  I’m wondering where the ideas come from then if there is little thought?  I am intrigued.

PK  Ahhh, this is the magic of consciousness, it’s a rich soup of creativity if you can let the state of conscious awareness emerge in yourself by quieting the mind. I maintain a balance between being and doing. Hard to describe in words, more to be experienced than figured out.

J M-L  Hmmmm, so why does this particularly appeal to you?

PK  I am greatly stimulated by working in this way because I have no idea of what is going to happen, it’s a journey into the unknown.

J M-L I am still going to ask.  Where do you go to think?

PK I practise no thought…anywhere!

J M-L  Hahaha. Yes, I asked for that! Do you see yourself living in Devon forever?

PK  I really don’t know, I remain open.

 J M-L Tell me something about yourself that has nothing to do with art.

PK I have watched Grey Gardens documentary around 50 times, could be more!

J M-L – Oh wow, the fascinating story of the ‘Edith Beales’ intriguing ladies!