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I guess this work started four or five years ago, predating moving to Seaford. What a blessing my love gave me when she bought me the studio as a present for Christmas in 2013, six months after we moved in. I remember the giggles as she tied the door shut with a gold ribbon and refused to let me enter until Christmas Day. She wasn’t laughing quite as much when I spent Boxing day painting the floor grey…

It took a while to get the lighting set up properly, and the LED panels are now a great deal cheaper than when I installed them, but the light they give is rated at 5800 – 6000 kelvin, the same as daylight so well worth the investment. I would have preferred more headroom but given the planning laws this is as good as I’m going to get, and it certainly works for me.

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In the beginning…

The garden has become a major source of inspiration but the majority of the poppy images I’m working with came from the planting we did in the garden of the previous house in Warlingham. The poppies are only just starting to get a foothold here in Seaford, but my walk to work, whilst only the few metres to the bottom of the garden, sometimes takes 60 photographs to make as I relish the colour and vitality OH produces from our soil in her plantings.

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The images are a starting point for the paintings, but the importance of the activity has grown over the last eighteen months as I have developed a working routine. Only when I am in the studio can I enter a state of mental isolation from my worldly problems. Total mindfulness, a state of mind many use drugs to achieve, but which painting can ‘turn on’ for me. When I’m painting or working on drawings the world ceases to exist, I even forget my health issues. When I was younger reading a good book could detach me from reality into a mental universe away from problems but now immersion in the creative process does the same, or more.

Chris is encouraging – it’s great to have a fan – but she still makes me jump when she brings me a cup of tea or comes to the studio door. I become so engrossed that outside cues get missed, and her voice can burst my bubble. It is good to have someone to bounce ideas off, even if all they do is listen but she encourages.

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 I have developed the habit of photographing progress regularly and putting progress photos up on my Facebook studio page, so it is possible for others to follow and to see the work developing. This is also interesting for me as I can see the painting develop in a way otherwise not possible, as time lapsed digital images of progress show themselves side by side. I also sometime get some interesting feedback too…

Equally exciting is seeing the virtual Gallery of images developing on the website, showing the strength and development of ideas as the paintings ‘hang’ side by side. I look forward to seeing them on a ‘meat world’ gallery wall to see if they come across as strongly as they do on the small screen. As scale adds impact to both colour and the mark I think they will ‘sing’ when hung.

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How many paintings there will be in the Poppy series, I can’t tell. A second is underway already. New technical problems are presenting themselves for solution, and image development is changing in my mind, but whether this is just a catharsis ridding myself of these strong images, externalising rather than allowing them to clog my mind, only time and progress will tell.

The sheets for the next drawing of the ‘Bridget Riley’ series still waits on the wall, silently nudging me not to forget, but right now the colour developments coming through the grid and dislocation of colour in the poppy imagery are focussing me in another direction.

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Each day in the studio fills me with excitement, anticipation, sometimes bringing a laugh of sheer joy as I face the progressing work.

Thank you my love

 

So, you can follow progress in the studio on Facebook

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