How less became more and a return to plein air painting..
It was my son Matthew who quoted Picasso at me last month – that ‘every act of creation is first an act of desctruction’. He was referring to my vigorous treatment of a large Farley Mount painting which has been taxing me since early Summer.
Having put layer upon layer of paint on this work – sanding and scraping marks off as I went along – I finally decided one Saturday morning to simply take a chisel to the metal. Hammering away the layers, revealing bits of a picture that I could barely remember did indeed present a way forward. It was a little like putting a jigsaw back together, but without the picture on the box to help you. My aim was to keep the structure that had revealed itself when the paint was removed but to also paint out some of the fierceness! I learnt a great deal from the process; that I could fill in areas, scratch back to link shapes and layers together and echo chisel marks with a paintbrush and rubber.
It is hard now to tell with this painting which marks are old and which are new. It still draws its inspiration from that glorious view across the Hampshire fields and hills, and there is still an element of that moment I sat looking at the sun set, but the work went somewhere totally unexpected and I rather like that…
One of the things I decided after destroying and reworking Farley sunset was that it was time to go back to basics. I have rediscovered paper and the beauty of working outdoors. It is good for my soul to paint in situ – to simply play with the colours and shapes. I have found myself drawn back to this view and I have no idea how long it will take me to finish with it!
So any late afternoon the light looks promising I struggle along the path with my new ‘backpack’ easel and paints to set up my outside studio. It is not an entirely peaceful process as Dexter delights in shooting around like a rocket sending every unsuspecting pheasant flying!
Turps Correspondence course
As well as painting an ongoing series of studies outside, I have also started a work on canvas. Autumn colours, but more muted. A sense of that Farley view but more from memory than actual visual or photographic image. I have embarked on my 3rd year with the Turps Correspondence course and this means forcing myself to carry on exploring abstract painting in a more disciplined way.
SOUTHAMPTON CITY ART GALLERY April to August 2017
CCA GALLERY JERSEY, Solo Exhibition, June/July 2017
THE DORCHESTER HOTEL, London – November 2016 (date to be confirmed)
I had my first planning meeting with one of the exhibition curators at Southampton City Art Gallery last week. I have been offered two galleries now – one large and one small. This means that I can work on a live installation in the smaller space and keep the large space for paintings. There will be a private view of my show, alongside the launch of the gallery’s New Acquisitions in May next year. Please let me know if you would like an invite.
CCA Gallery in Jersey have also offered to put on an exhibition of my work. This means producing a new collection of sea paintings on aluminium.
There will be a chance for people to see my remaining tube paintings at The Dorchester this month. Date yet to be decided but I shall post it up on my website as soon as it is confirmed.