Oil on canvas
45 x 61 x 2 cm
This is one of the first paintings I made which was successful, painted with a limited palette, from sheer exuberance and an immediate response to the subject. The chairs can be seen to represent people who are not there, although I was only aware of the shapes, voids and space as I was painting it. I had a short window of time to get it down before my makeshift painting studio morphed back into the family kitchen, when my young family returned from school. Consequently, sheets were draped over things I didn’t want in the painting, which ended up giving the space a certain fluidity.
I’ve been trying to recreate this success ever since, with more failures than successes along the way. When tapping into your sub-conscious, you have a freedom that the conscious mind does not govern, but in order to succeed you need to recreate this process and make something tangible from the machinations of a confused mind. All my subsequent work is the result of making what my sub-conscious mind throws out more conscious and converting it to pigment and surface to make something interesting, which is what fine art is for. It also explains why painting truthfully is so hard to do.
I wrote a sonnet about the process, which is transcribed here and used in my ‘Stained Glass’ series (See Paperworks):
Spending thirty years thinking about art,
fitting around family, the day job,
living, studying works of past masters,
contemporaries, practising the craft of
manipulating pigment, figuring
how to portray feelings,observations
of your time and place to make an object
of beauty that a stranger would want to
hang in their house, the penny dropping in
the small hours and changing your direction,
making a piece that’s seems true, forgetting
others’ work, recalling first principles,
sent with fingers crossed-emailed ‘so many…
high standard …not yours this time’. Dejection!