There is an image of Superman, used on the front page of comics for ages, fist raised, taking off in a leap into the atmosphere. One bound, and he’s free! That is exactly how I feel. Given the all clear from cancer, also cleared of diabetes completely (not even ‘pre-diabetic’ any more), I feel exhilarated. One of my friends on Facebook said perhaps now I would “stop being an old misery guts” – an unkind remark I thought, but if I was I apologise, and promise that I will share my happiness.
Painting has sustained me through the last few years of battling ill health. Someone called it ‘art therapy’. It is not therapy, but it is about soul. It has enabled me to cling to my vision of the beauty of life, and to express and share this. The health issues first surfaced in 2011, so this fight has gone on a long time. Now I can unleash my ‘inner artist’ fully.
The latest painting is a rework of the daisies from some of my Seattle images, entitled ‘Seattle Daisy #4’ (catchy huh?). The last painting, ‘Andreas Daisies’, is now hanging in Seattle , the second iteration changes both the scale of the canvas and the image whilst also reworking the colour controls to create more sense of space in the imagery.
It is an exploration of colour and space that will continue with the next daisy painting. I am just starting work on drawings and collages leading to a canvas growing out of images of the gentle English daisies growing in my lawn. Like me now, they turn their faces to the sun, heavenward, in praise of the light, thankful bleak winter times are passing.
My first drawing of daisies was casual, from my desk inside the studio, in pencil. This has been followed by photographs of daisies here and in the USA. US daisies are of course bigger, but they cannot match the delicacy and charm of our English lawn daisy. Did you make daisy chain necklaces as a child? I did in between using grasses as pistols, bending the stem across and firing the seed head by pushing the bent stem against the seed head – much more a boy thing than daisy chain necklaces, or at least it was in the 1950’s…
The daisy appears delicate, its white petals gently fringed with pink and the Archimedean spiral of the yellow centre shouting its colour against the green of the lawn. But it is robust, refusing to disappear under the attention of the lawn mower, its white spots breaking the stripy green of the mown grass. I first made a painting of the lawn in 1968 whilst in college, and I still find mowing the garden one of the essential pleasures of life, both visually and through the wonderful scent of new cut grass.
In the two paintings completed to date the arcs of the daisy centres and their colour gradations compete with the diagonals of the greens, whilst both contribute to the sense of space in the canvas. In the next I will look further at randomness and the grid.