Hedge. oil on canvas. 160x120cms.
Starting a new painting is like taking up with an old friend: time has passed and what one thought one knew has been challenged by the interval. Beginning again is often about learning a new perspective. One thinks that the ground is familiar and indeed it is but there is often new stuff which comes out in the course of the renewed conversation.
This is very much how it feels with the last two paintings. I am familiar with the source material, the world outside my window, the paths around me, the photographs that I have taken, the actions of my hand and eye and yet something unexpected can happen, something not seen previously. It may be just a small thing or an accretion of small things which adds to my understanding.
I was in England recently: didn't see any shows but in a friends house saw a small painting, a still life, the result of his contemplation of painting, which made me anxious to return to work. In another friends house two drawings, one by John Minton and one by John Muscutt which re-affirmed my sometimes shaky recognition of fine drawing.
Small encounters add up.