There are times in your painting life when you feel like you’ve made a jump forward. Or maybe just uncovered a new area to explore, and the exploration still has to be done.
I think this one might be a bit of both.
For a while I’ve been wanting to get something into my work that will move it away a little from my visual impressions, whilst retaining (always) a strong element of realism.
Since I became so ill last year I’ve had a pervading sense of the fragility of life. Not as an intellectual idea, but springing from the knowledge that I might not have made it. That if things had worked out differently, I might not have had the time I have now with the people I love, my wife, my kids.
This is something I feel every day, and feel deeply.
And I’ve been wanting to find a way to express something of that feeling, perhaps without being entirely aware I was looking for it.
In a few of my more recent small pieces, I’ve started to dissolve the forms a little. As well as reflecting something of the way we perceive the world (we can only focus on quite a narrow area of our visual field at a time) the bleeding edges of the forms seem to me to resonate with the idea of fragility, of the brevity of our existence, and with our unaknowledged vulnerability.
In this painting, it came out a little more and I finally connected the dots and made it an explicit expression of these ideas.
Strange, though, I didn’t go into this painting intending for this to happen. I started as I usually do. It just…went somewhere else whilst I was painting it.
As well as the dissolving forms, I started to use texture more than I usually would, and built up the paint much more thickly in places. I’ll post some detail shots, but you can only really get a feel for how that works when you see it in the person.
I think that’s true of all paintings. In this one, the texture makes the surface very obvious, works against the realism in some way but at the same time serves to make the form feel more real. I’m going to be consciously looking for ways to expand on that idea in future paintings.
So, although this painting certainly embodies some ideas I’ve been wanting to express, and is a change and I think a development for me, it still leaves a lot unresolved and is leaving me with new avenues to explore.
This one is a little larger than my small pieces, x inches and is on a linen panel I made myself. Its a beautiful surface for panting, fine linen primed with lead white.
I’m auctioning this painting as I usually do, but since it’s a larger piece on linen and took some time to paint, the minimum bid is higher than usual.
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