Lately I have been risking change. This latest group of paintings is no exception. Although at a casual glance they may appear like a natural continuum in my work, they are actually an exciting departure...
Instead of stretched canvases, I have painted on birch panels. The paint sits proud on the hard surface of the timber rather than sinking into the warp and weft of the canvas fabric – each brushstroke remains clearly distinguishable from the next.
Instead of building up layer upon layer of transparent colour over weeks or months, I have painted ‘alla prima’ – meaning all in one session, risking a muddy mess as the wet colours merge and edges blur beyond the point of return!
Instead of solely using brushes, I have applied thick buttery paint with a palette knife and scrubbed back colour with a rag, my hands staining, my clothes smelling of paint…
While this all sounds like that typical image of the artist most of us have – working in some free and ecstatic state of inspiration – what is closer to the truth is that it’s an all-consuming and demanding process. Yes, it includes some wonderful moments where each mark seems to make the image sing, but throughout I have to employ every ounce of skill, judgement and attention.
As I work I am constantly moving; standing up close to paint, then stepping back to assess the effect of each new brushstroke from further away. Somehow, I have to constantly see the work with fresh eyes despite being intimately involved in its conception. I need courage to act on my own convictions, sometimes to make radical, uncomfortable changes. Ultimately, I have to be both my most discerning critic and my most dedicated supporter.
Having said all that, I’d love you to come and support me, see these new paintings ‘in the flesh’ and tell me what you think. They will be exhibited in Seeing, Being, Painting, with the paintings of two other talented artists Jane Canfield and Vanessa Stockard, at the Braemar Gallery in Springwood.
Please join me for a glass of wine at the opening on Saturday 21 November at 4-6pm. RSVP here