Tuesday, 1 December 2009

'Autumn to Winter': notes from the studio

'Alan', oil on canvas, 90 x 60cms

I’ve been busy over the last few weeks in the studio. Aside from working on ‘The Moz Award’, I’ve been trying to lock myself away to stay focussed on creating some new paintings. I’ve had a vague concept in my head of the theme ‘Autumn to Winter’ to help hang things on. I do mean only loosely though, with the idea of letting the colours and textures of the outdoors inform the formal decisions I make.

I did my first portrait in over a year, ‘Alan’, a portrait of Alan Cheeseman who owns and curates the Chameleon Gallery in Walsall. I really enjoyed doing it, and it was good to re-connect with this side of my work. I feel it has a more confident and ‘up’ feel than a lot of the work I’ve made recently. I have often felt the best portraits I’ve made express all that I want to say as an painter. I think at the moment however, I need to keep pushing the ‘nature’ paintings where things are less comfortable, such as the one below based on a study of an autumn tree.

'November' oil on canvas, 120 x 100cms

This is a larger painting, and painted very loosely. I surprised myself at how loose I was happy to keep it, but it just seemed quite quickly to become it’s own thing that I didn’t feel that it needed my hand interfering with it anymore. I wanted it to look like it was painted outdoors ‘plein air’, like the study it was made from, and think it does this and more. It was great fun.

'Wild Flowers', oil on canvas, 100 x 150cms

This blue painting, ‘Wild Flowers’ was made from further studies I had that informed my very large ‘Eve Of The Day’ painting. Initially it was intended to continue an exploration of the formal decisions I made there, and it was this, but since it’s creation it has very much asserted it’s own identity to me. I’ve really learned to like this one.

'Yellow and Purple', oil on canvas, 85 x 70cms

‘Yellow and Purple’(above) was shown hot off the easel at my recent ‘Thirteen’ exhibition. It was still wet as I put it on the wall, but often my paintings are. This and the large painting I did this last weekend on the easel in the studio photo, are based on dahlia’s my Dad planted on his allotment over the summer in my brother Stu’s favourite colours. The plot was covered in them, and each week he would bring more back to my parent’s home and put them in jars around the house. I found it very moving, and felt compelled to record this in drawings and paintings. I think the allotment has been a place to work through my Dad’s grief, as the studio has been mine. ‘Yellow and Purple’ on reflection seemed like a portrait of my Dad and Stu’s relationship. It’s ended up on my Dad’s living room wall which I’m pleased about. I did it for him.

I hope you find these notes of interest. Any comments are always welcome!

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