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What is it in art that inspires you? Have you seen or experienced something recently that has made you want to run back to your studio or kitchen table to start making?

I’ve been feeling a bit flat lately and didn’t really have any ideas as to what I was going to be making next. I’ve been finding the process of exhibiting rather an empty experience so I have been seeking a way of instilling some more focus, gravitas and thinking within my work.

To do this, other than reading, attending talks and a wider spread of exhibitions, I have been looking at courses to see whether there was something there, specifically focusing on art and philosophy.

There are definitely a few avenues I could follow but then there is the reality of cost. I’m not sure I can justify the expense, particularly when I have kids who are accumulating considerable student debts that seem likely to need even more from me going forward in this downward turning economic climate.

There was a glimmer of light a couple of weeks ago though. I was on a short trip to Paris with my other half and we went to the Cubism exhibition at the Pompidou centre. I can honestly say it is possibly one of the best exhibitions I have ever been to. It was extensive and incredibly comprehensive including work leading up to the Cubism movement and later work having been influenced by Cubism. It included a fantastic range of artists, paintings and sculpture.

I was blown away by a Cezanne portrait of a women in a blue dress (darn it, didn’t write down the exact title). Anyway this painting absolutely glowed. It was at the start of the exhibition and set the tone in terms of the level of quality to expect going forward.

Among my favourite pieces from the exhibition were a few from the collage and assemblage sections with work from Juan Gris. These were quite small, very quiet and subtle. It is these pieces that have got me thinking about what I’m going to explore next, perhaps not surprising given the nature of my own work.

A friend of mine had given me lots of sheets of paper that was used for packing furniture and these are perfect to stick on the studio wall and start collaging. I have started to play with the collages and mix them with paint and drawing and investigate what the interactions between these might suggest. As it happens I had just completed a much larger collage in my studio, doing exactly this (but on canvas), so have some idea as to some of the outcomes of some of the mark making. The difference going forward is that my new work will be on the packing paper and this adds a different, more temporal and fragile feeling to the final pieces. There is less planning to what I am doing, and more a case of working instinctively.

As for the course, I’m still definitely thinking about that one but would welcome any suggestions.