Monday, 26 August 2013

Not Norway

oil on canvas, 170 x 170cms
This isn’t Norway. This isn’t a painting of a forest. Those aren’t trees set against the dark background. They are in fact the reflections in a canal in Smethwick of the concrete columns that support the enormous motorway that roars above. The scene couldn’t feel further from Scandinavia, and yet, as soon as I finished this large canvas the other day after many hours work, I was immediately struck by how much it felt like the Norwegian forest I found myself in exactly a year ago this week, especially the long nights staring into the silent, dark spaces between the trees. So maybe this is my first major painting of Norway? Or Smethwick? Who knows?

In response to my last post where I discussed the enjoyment of working on a piece for much longer, over six weeks in fact, compared to the usual one day I take on a piece, I enjoyed working on this in one sustained effort so much the other day that I found myself reflecting once again on the approach that I have taken for the last ten years or so. These are hard won things. The deep level of concentration required and total immersion in the act of painting was such a fulfilling experience.

I showed my wife, Diane, a photograph of the painting later. She was not particularly impressed. She questioned why would she be interested in an image like this? Her words bought to mind a quote by Schopenhauer, via Ad Rienhardt, that:

‘Interest is of no interest in art’

I like this quote. This idea is one of the other key things I’ve been mining in my painting for the last ten years.  

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