One never really knows when something from the past will catch up. Some time ago I made some small paintings which I thought might lead on to something but it didn't seem to be the case. Over the last few weeks those ideas may have caught me up as have drawings that I made some thirty years ago. Not the same drawings but the same sense of drawing. This is part of the richness of making things. One moves forward one hopes but at the same time carry dormant ideas into the light of the present.
Of course it isn't and just working on these drawings and paintings reminds me that everything shifts. New islands appear old ones submerge : marks on the surface also undergo transformation. The difference is that we are trying to create something stable out of the chaos; a new thing. I see my garden and I see the drawing take place which is of that garden but pared away, moved around, composed and erased - and wait while I go and cut that hedge again, mow that path again, so that when I look again it is my drawing and my drawing is it.
Very different pieces in progress at the moment. The drawing is tentatively entitled The bush in the rain.
The upper paintings are a move away from the descriptive/figurative work that has been the result of repeatedly engaging with the subject of the bush. I felt pressure to break from that and I intend to push on with this to see where it leads.
I must just mention La Tour, Montsales, Aveyron in France. There is a truly lovely exhibition there at the moment, a Tapestry show, but with baskets, photographs, small scale very fine tapestry and three dimensional work from Scotland and France. The website can be found at www.galerielatourmontsales.com. Two weeks left of the current show.
I would like to draw attention to Painting Perceptions, an American blog. I have no connection to it but it is something that I pay attention to. There are a number of very interesting writings about painting on the web; Painter's Table is another one: Sharon Knettell writes informative, personal and challenging pieces on Painting from Life. The work featured differs markedly from my own but I feel that there is a lot to learn from differing view points and a great deal of commonality too.
Apparently blogging is old hat: instagram is the way forward. See for yourselves.
painting for my mother revised. oil on canvas. 100x80cms.
Lost at sea and never found. Which is what it feels like this morning after what I thought to have been a productive session . I knocked over a few things and found the bottom two paintings which then made me look at a whole bunch of things made previously but misplaced. I think that I prefer them.
I am ducking reworking a larger painting which has already been repainted several times. I am being cowardly and I know it: I thought that I had finished ( Painting for my mother ) but I know it won't do so in the meantime worked on these two: restarting the bigger piece and doing a lot of sitting down, getting up, looking at the bush, the light and dark, trying to remember my mother, being quite sure that I don't know enough about her or how she thought or for that matter how she lived brings me to the brush, the material of the paint and an odd mental juxtaposition that whilst the painting is not a metaphor for loss, it is about change and about the only thing over which I have control.
It was Van Gogh who said something like that one person could provide material for many paintings and I feel the same way about the narrow view of my garden. It is always different, always challenging, always providing opportunities.
I photograph my garden a lot: I don't refer to them when I'm painting but they do capture a lot of information that I can use to remind myself of shifts in shadow and how blocks of light and dark can work together. Sometimes they provoke me into considering possibilities that I might otherwise miss and together with the drawings, help to search for some truth. There is quite a difference between these two, given that they have been made within days of each other and I find myself moving between closely observed painting and that which allows for more reordering, invention, call it what you will. It is however still rooted in the view, in the bush as object, in the space as theatre.