At the end of 2012, this much I know….
I’d prefer to define myself as a painter than an artist.
I only really enjoy painting: appreciating it, doing it, learning about it (and some sculpture). Most contemporary art has little interest for me, despite continued attempts to engage with it over the years. But that seems a fair position. It’s like expecting a football fan to like all sports other than his beloved football.
There is great value in working in a specialized field like painting. It’s important to measure yourself against and understand it’s traditions and history, while avoiding being too reactionary. It seems to have more value than floating around the abundance of choices available to the contemporary artist who inevitably ends up not really having a deep relationship with anything. You do not find any other type of artist, such as writers, film-makers, or poets working like this. There is so little time to do it all!
I’ve learned more about painting in the art criticism of contemporary Welsh painter Merlin James than anyone else.
It’s ok to use photographs to support my own painting.
The influence of Gerhard Richter’s paintings from photographs really get in the way of most modern painters exploration of the relationship between photography and painting. If you want to learn more about the possibilities of photography and painting you would be best to look at an artist like Walter Sickert. He was much more creative and forward thinking.
Richter’s lack of compassion is rather sad and poses many problems in contemporary painting not found in art forms such as literature, theatre and film.Working in collaboration has stretched and challenged me much more than working on my own. I would like to do more of it in 2013.
I feel I work in a very narrow way most of the time, yet I continue to find myself in new and unexpected situations. And that is just when I walk through the studio door.
The fact that it is not an embarrassment to me that most paintings I’ve made this year are inspired by the mood evoked in a Bruce Springsteen song says much about my love and respect for the man and his music.
Happy New Year!