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I first started working with images of geraniums back in the 1970’s, alongside paintings using tulips, crocosmia, honeysuckle and lupins, all of which were grown in my own garden. Moving to Seaford a few years ago introduced me to a different type of geranium, and sparked the drawings referenced in a previous posting here. Working from garden flowers grown and nurtured by OH and me is part of a tradition of artist/gardeners using their floral output as a source material, most famously epitomised by Monet.

Diptych Acrylic and oil pastel on canvas

Diptych Acrylic and oil pastel on canvas

My concern initially was the tonal relationships between violet/purple and green, and my initial paintings were two small square canvases where this colour relationship was explored together with working with oil paints overs the top of acrylics. Whilst the abstract relationships of the colours have continued to be explored through drawings in oil pastel, the imagery has been explored through paintings, alongside other concerns such as in the ‘Wave’ series. Much interrupted by health issues (cancer, diabetes etc.) it has been difficult to build up a continuity of process, but I can now devote myself to building that impetus.

Drawing exploring geranium colour relationships. Oil pastel on paper

Drawing exploring geranium colour relationships. Oil pastel on paper

In trying to get a sense of movement and light into the way the colour works, alongside concerns expressed through the Grid and the dislocation of colour from the line drawing, the formality of the canvas forces decisions in a way that the looser drawing format doesn’t. This is the ritual against the earlier mythmaking, and the two process tend to happen alongside each other in the studio. Other artists have taken up to three years to complete their canvases. I have never produced more than about ten major pieces in a year, and currently less than that.

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Drawing exploring colour relationships in geraniums

I am encouraged by the response to paintings exhibited and by reaction to them via my website and the Facebook page, but I don’t have the same impulsion to show that I did in my late twenties, when I was having 3 shows a year. I stopped exhibiting in part because of an exhibition review in the UK national newspaper the Guardian that criticised the work in a very personal way, but also because of a distaste for the corrupt way the art world and criticism seemed to work. I also allowed myself to be diverted into the design world.

Geraniums 2 #3

Looking around me now I feel reluctant to engage with the art world and am happy to continue to work with local organisations and show once every 18 months in my local gallery. I am asked to take part in local ‘open studios’ events but the idea of loads of people tramping through my private domain fills me with horror, so the web provides the main area for me to show the work. Of course if anyone wants to visit my studio and see the work I am happy to make individual appointments.

Geraniums 2 #4

Hundreds of people visit my blog every week, and comments are welcome. This post marks an anniversary for the blog, and during the last year some 107,000+ visits have been made by 27,700 visitors. The blog is useful for making me think about process and express something of what I am about. My art is intended to reflect a view of reality, but the writing extends this through process outside the studio, sharing my visual world through posts such as the ‘Bridget Riley of the Shingle’ or ‘Diamonds not Wardrobes’.

Oil pastel, giclee print collaged 12 inches square

Oil pastel, giclee print collaged 12 inches square

Painting is more than a process, it is a part of living and as a cancer survivor I value what time I have left, and I will continue to try to share my visual world. This is a journey and I hope you will continue to dip in and enjoy it with me. I sell souvenirs of it through the gallery, but if I can turn you on visually a little more than you already are then I am satisfied with that. Please, use the comment column and let me know if I am succeeding.

After all, if a tree falls in the forest and no-one hears it fall, did the event really happen….?

 

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