dimanche 15 juillet 2018

Becoming someone.

                                                    untitled. oil on canvas, 100x100cm

Burning the bank. oil on canvas. 100x100cm

In the beginning there was the painting without a particular direction, which then recalled the burning of the bank and hedgerow by a local farmer. The came the conflict between the connection and its depiction and the painting. I had to keep pulling the painting back to itself but there were fields, hedges,  spaces, events all crowding in and requiring some sort of resolution. So what I have, after many revisions, is an uneasy alliance. Of course ,once given a title - Burning the bank - the painting will be read in that context and subordinated to the title whilst what I want is for the painting to be foremost.

I think of my painting as an unfolding story of who I am becoming and if history and painting can be likened at all to each other in that they can be said to be stories told by the victor then I have surprised myself by becoming something thatI did not imagine, both victor and vanquished.

One of the reasons for returning to the self portrait is that the subject is always changing and so is the way that the paint is used. The material and its application are a source of fascination the exploration of which keeps me coming back. Coupled with the hourly, daily changes in my appearance , the constant shifting of my reflected image, my shifts in temperament and differing qualities of light, the whole enterprise is compelling. Also, as Stella Duffy says, it is not just the subject that gives significance to the portrait but what the artist includes and chooses to exclude.

vendredi 15 juin 2018

La Tour Montsales. July.

Soon, June 30th - July 26th, La Tour, Montsales, Aveyron will host Artistes de Montsales et du Causse.

I hope to include one of the paintings here but have not decided which.

mardi 5 juin 2018

Being there.

Andrew Wyeth is credited with saying: Finally, when you get far enough along in a thing, you feel as though you're living there - not working at a painting - but actually working in that valley. You're there.

Today, I think I know what he meant.

samedi 26 mai 2018

Painting and thinking.

                                                              Catherine Pamplin. oil on paper.

                                                                      oil on canvas

I had recently, the unusual experience of watching an artist friend work. The painting progressed carefully over the course of an afternoon and provided me with an opportunity to reflect upon another persons process, decisions, revisions, adjustments. One is of course aware that this is always going on but to step outside it and be a quiet observer taught me a lot. I became aware, whilst making the above painting of the movements of my friends work even though it was turned away from me as it dried.

Essentially as an act of creation, it has to engage by making something out of nothing. There is an image in mind sometimes and the painting works towards the realization of the image but at other times the act of painting is the image. The image can be the result of a dialogue that the artist has with themselves but in addition creates an opportunity for a dialogue with the observer and the observer is brought into relation with it. In the case of my friends painting she was setting out, or working out a story, something she was thinking about. It can be read by an observer although the true meaning may remain personal. In my painting, the reading may be more obvious but both paintings develop out of inner dialogue.

Applied to painting, critical thinking too often ends up calling into question the very medium—a deconstructionist impulse that particularly sabotages beginning students. Playing baseball or tennis requires accepting the game as a whole, and so does painting. But unlike baseball or tennis, painting is an open-ended pursuit without any numerical victory or defeat. It’s fraught with subjectivity and uncertainty. It is, as an artist I know has said, one semi-mistaken brushstroke after another applied until a kind of truce against the possibility of a perfect painting is reached. ( Laurie Fendrich) Or as de Kooning thought, starting over at every stage.

 There is a quote from Robert Motherwell which sits well with both of the above paintings. 'Painting is a medium in which the mind can actualize itself. It is a medium of thought. Thus painting, like music, tends to become its own content.

mardi 10 avril 2018

Two paintings, early Spring.


                                                      oil on canvas. 100x100cms

                                                         oil on canvas. 30x30cms

Skies are unusually grey and light silken but not bright. I have been very fortunate to have been able to spend some time drawing with a model; just the head, but not mine. It is a different experience and a different challenge. Now I need to focus on drawing again from the garden but before I commit to that I have made these two paintings.

mercredi 7 mars 2018


                                        Garden at February's end. oil on canvas 100x100cm

Head of the pianist. charcoal. 75x68cm

Observation involves scanning: side to side ; up; down; forwards and backwards; memory and selection.
Observing a portion of the garden, I move things around and bring in elements of things seen at different times of the day, sections from photographs taken in the garden or whilst out walking.
It should add up to an experience of movement; weather; light; shade; senses and time passing.

Nothing is still. The earth is spinning and I with it.

mardi 6 février 2018

February fill dyke.

When I was growing up and first taking an interest in painting one of the images that impressed me was a painting by Benjamin Williams Leader. It only became popular after the Jubilee Exhibition in Manchester and apparently was a painting of a November day.

My painting is definitely February and definitely a wet one.