The rusting is a metaphor for personal and national life, my efforts to reflect it and present its beauty reflects my own view of our country and its history. Doesn’t all art do this? If that is so, how do you judge much of what is presented as art, in all art forms, today?
Right at the beginning of this series BRotS#1 had a vestigial wave pattern at its base, partly, I will admit, simply to hide the fact the drawing wasn’t quite square. See how intellectual the process can be? Ha! Throughout the remaining explorations and paintings, the...
Realistic or representational paintings can open a door for a viewer, and maybe why, as I have said before, that I try to walk a line between abstraction and representation. The works on paper are closer to realism that you might think, often appearing surprisingly close to the photographic image worked from, making them accessible in theory to anyone visually aware. When I go onto canvas, I try to distil the lessons learned in working on paper into something that stands alone, needing no external reference, its abstraction from reality perhaps a feeling of familiarity. For on canvas I am seeking to find beauty, to extract more beauty from what I see.
Starting with observation, drawings result. Additional information added by keeping large print (A3+ or A2} colour photographs for colour references on the studio wall, occasionally incorporating photographic prints into the work means that much of the apparent abstractions are just more apparent than they are. Sometimes the photos are collaged to create images that can be around five feet high. In other smaller works I have used collage in addition to colour to show the effects of time. Time also matters and that becomes a concern in the work too, sometimes surfacing in images such as the garden image made from merging a photo from each season to present a picture of a year.
Is there still a place for the ancient craft of painting? Looking at a painting should change the way we perceive our world. Fine art produces objects of contemplation, interpretations of beauty that change the way we as individuals see our world. Unlike VR or movies, a painting is not an escape from reality, but a mirror held up to it to change the way we see or understand it, a mirror that reflects the view the artist sees but unlike the digital realities, does not pretend to be anything but itself. Paintings enable the viewer to have a dialogue and question themselves on their own view of their world.
Here you can see details of the latest paintings featured in previous blogs, showing the technique. I use brushes too, frequently underpainting with brush before working over with the scrapers and then working over again with oil pastel. Love what I am doing ( to paint is to love again) and love the colour interrelationship that are created by the layering. I admire other painters who are into paint, like Tom Phillips, and those who extend how we look and use our eyes. I hope I make people look afresh at the world around them, use their eyes more to see the beauty we live with daily in often unexpected places. I hope you enjoy.
Some of what I know is hearsay, some from simple observation, some from public reports. It seems that the Agency, given the job of protecting Britain’s coastline, was making choices about where to spend its limited funds (apart from on offices and administration of course). A while ago it announced it would no longer take any action on the Cuckmere but would allow the area between the sea and inland villages like Alfriston to become tidal marsh land. It explicitly would not pay anything for the defence of the Coastguard Cottages despite their worldwide fame as an icon of the English coast adjacent to the Seven Sisters.
Including pieces of net and the shingle rocks that had holed and forced apart the metal plates drew me down a path to painting realistically where before, in just exploring the colour I had been able to delight in exploring paint and colour, textures, transparency and painterly concerns. Working from a photograph I took of the metal defences and the cottages beyond I tried to maintain the exploration of colour texture etc, and to contrast them against the white of the cottages, all on a large canvas.
Whilst I am no longer working in the small tight confines of taped off areas characterised by the ‘Seaford Fuchsia’, I am still taping out areas to work on. The thick paint raised issues with getting a good edge as the corrugations I create in application allow ‘bleeds’ of adjacent colour. To a certain extent I allow this as it reflects the rough rusty edges on my subject, but the issue is compounded by the slow drying, where the thick paint can be dry to the touch by have enough damp in it to reject the tape. This seems more of an issue on canvas than it is on paper, despite both having the same application of gesso ground.