The single-minded theme of my artwork can best be described as “INTIMISM”: conveying warmth, comfort, and quiet isolation - perhaps capturing a fleeting moment.

I have little desire for any pre-occupation with anatomy, but rather, my ongoing interests lie in the external “design” of the figure, set within the context of an embellished interior. This allows for a variety of explorations of structure, pattern and space.

As I progress the drawing process, I am looking to further ‘subtract towards abstraction’ - and create images that are enigmatic, with increased ambiguity. I hold the view that our eyes have the ability to ‘work things out
— R W Allen

MASTERY

My work is simply about a measured pursuit of MASTERY, through practice and repetition.                                 

Having completed an initial 10000 hour scope of ‘apprenticeship’, and working through a second of the same duration, I believe that I currently travel along the pathway of a ‘journeyman’.

PRACTICE & REPETITION

My methods of working have been greatly inspired through exploring the subject of MASTERY, especially having read a compelling book written by George Leonard.* The author is a practitioner of the martial art Aikido “the way of the spirit”, and writes of attaining ‘success’ through inner fulfilment.

Leonard argues that if we are to reach a level of MASTERY in any applied discipline, we need to learn to love repeated lengthy plateaus of pure practice, and identify “brief spurts of progress”, as he terms them, when they occur.

* I am indebted to Andrew Trimmer, artist and friend, for this insightful introduction.

REPEATED PRACTICE

As I continue along my path through practice and repetition, I am increasingly ‘in tune’ with George Leonard’s philosophy on attaining MASTERY. There exists an ongoing realization that repeated practice is not about achieving perfection. Repeated practice exists only in the present, and I am comfortable embracing long periods of activity, with seemingly no perceptible advancement.

In striving for excellence, I enjoy engaging with the process of repetition for its own sake: staying on the path, day after day, month after month, and acknowledging those small incremental steps [“brief spurts of progress”] . . . never forced, and at times, not immediately recognized.

MEASUREMENT

Having recorded all my time spent since undertaking the initial scope of 10000 hours, I have recently constructed a chart of my journey to date. The hours traveling along the various plateaus of pure repeated practice have been established [one over 3000 hours in length!], and the intermittent “brief spurts of progress” plotted. There have been eight “bsps” since January 2010, and these have occurred through internal as well as external sources. Through this ‘chart of progress’, I am able to literally display and update this journey of measured pursuit.

“MASTERY is not really a goal, or destination. It is a never-ending journey.” George Leonard