NOTES ON PAINTING

Started a new work last night. Happy with first stage or layering. Attempting to create an interesting earthwork/archaeological substrate as my initial marker or foundation. Find myself resorting to a similar palette as usual. Cadmium Red, Yellow Ochre, Purple, Bright Yellow and Green. Hard surface with idenden as random skin with which to manipulate. Listening to music, smoking cigarettes and drinking wine as I work. Love that feeling of getting lost in the process. Always aware of the share of conscious and sub conscious. The expectation of the beautiful accident is always present but too much mess is not satisfying and in reality it veers more towards controlled exploration. In the realm of the senses….explore…colour, texture, pattern and the evocation of something hidden below and on the surface. I look at the Lanyon piece on the wall and realise only too well that his palette is more restricted and sensitive…blues, creams, whites all associated to his own sense of place which was the Cornish coast. My landscape is York with all it’s associations of historical overlaps and layers which occasionally present themselves as stark contrasts and reveal to us our place in the city’s history. But my natural landscape is that of North Wales and of the White Peak and Dark Peak of Derbyshire. These landscapes inform how I look and think about the land. It is as much a part of my soul as my emotional memory and in some ways easier to understand. I realise that starting a painting is a journey and on this occasion I actually tore the word from a newspaper and placed it on the surface as a starting point…..talking a line for a walk….Klee ..know that so well.

Paint is the skin of our culture. Before we can present that skin we have to plot in the flesh and bone of the work so that we better understand the realisation of the surface or result. Philosophically I feel stronger and more confident if I know what’s below my feet or in this case my hands. My wooden surface is my core, the idenden is my rock strata, and the layers of paint and oils is the changing movement of the land. After all, landscape is a state of mind not at any level a depiction of what we are looking at. That’s why I have felt a great affinity with painters such as Pollock, Tapies, Hoyland, Nicholson,and Lanyon…it’s their obsession with layering and time related process which by necessity takes us on that journey. Back at the surface and I need to work to the next level. At the moment I have a very interesting layer but it is too busy and full to leave alone. It needs to be reigned in with softer and less vibrant activity. Possible use of palette knife, with earth or sand mixed in paint and then scraped back to reveal the accidental ancient which lies beneath. The overlay of harmony is needed…imagine a Gillian Ayres painting that Mark Rothko has finished with his soul style. But we must remember that as we cover up that which is already there we will encounter overlaps and omissions and with relation to architectonic design we will operate a post modernist awareness of the motifs and icons we choose to work with. We can never truly lose that which we hide. Feelings, ideas and experiences simply enter a memory bank some of which feels incredibly personal but at the end of the day we all make our marks in time and are fully paid up members of the shared experience of existence and by making works we awake the song-lines of life which permeate all we see, touch, smell, and hear.


Get in touch