Friday, 29 December 2017

Why paint?

The present day, molded through art history development  has enabled artists and musicians an ever
increasing plethora of mediums open to the artist to both develop their practice and express themselves. I found out very early that I could not sing and, even after experiments with various musical instruments, found that I did not posses a talent for music. I also experimented with sculpture. I remember building large scrap wood sculptures in the garage as a boy, however, The only way I found immediate enough to fulfill my expressive needs was through the two dimensional surface art of painting. At school I spent hours in the library reading art history books rather than playing outside with my peers. I would drool over all the famous painters work which inspired me to the bone I loved their work and longed to paint my own.I quickly realised I required a means to create and painting was the obvious choice. My childhood and teenage paintings went through many styles as each artist in turn left their mark on me and my work. A few people bought them and I gained sufficient praise. I was not fortunate to come from artistic parentage coming from a working class family I was not encouraged and indeed mocked by some quarters with remarks like' your wasting your time', and 'people only like your work when your dead' also, 'get a proper job'. Most of the work from this time was never recorded or is presumed lost. below are two early paintings. As examples they are quite traditional, however I produced semi abstract work, expressionist and minimalist examples also.

Early Self portrait

                                                      The wait. Oil on panel 38x22 1990

I love paint, I love the smell and consistency of oil paint and the amazing variety of color combinations and styles that can be achieved. I love the dynamism of acrylics and their particular look when dry. I now love to combine both after many years of experimentation I began to understand each mediums nuances. In the search for a style I have been through many in my development over the years. Always in search for my own voice my work has changed time and again. I paint because I enjoy paints  immediacy and as a means of expression I find it works best for my personality and temperament. I am a very patient person but I do like to get things down quickly to enable more time for the next. From a very early age I began to question society and the world, what we are as human beings and  why we do what we do and why are we here at all. For a number of years I painted in my spare time in between work and education. After a nervous breakdown and divorce after an 18 year relationship, I was diagnosed with a mental health condition. I began to paint full time and developed a style that was conducive to my vision and expression. I spent a number of years painting covering many styles until I finally settled on a figurative approach and a semi abstract means of expression, the majority of this work can be seen here: along with some of my traditional illustration and a few of my recent works. I recently undertook a masters degree as I had come to a point in my painting development  where I needed a break from my practice as a painter. I felt stagnated and the work was not fulfilling my needs any more and so I decided to do the MA in illustration to enable a connection with my work and to develop my ideas for when I commenced painting again. I have now returned to my home town of southport a place where I find solace, which in turn enables a relaxed and renewed focus on my work. I have started this new approach to my painting recently after my break. I again began experimenting to find the sweet spot, the place where all the elements of creating and expression come together. I believe I have found my style again, the new work has obvious similarities to my previous work but as I planned has developed sufficiently after a break . Below is my most recent, I have a great deal of work to do as I have many unfinished plans for future work. When I have 10 new works i will once again acquire a website, and after accumulating 20 works I have plans to exhibit. Most of these new works are large format on panel, I prefer working on wood as I like its sturdity as apposed to new working method includes both oil and acrylic mixed as the the painting develops, I have found that oils have a tendancy for depth as apposed to acrylics which have a more plastic feel and tend to appear to float, and so when combined in strategic places adds to the works dynamism.
I still feel that drawing is an important start to a painting and my new work has areas where I have left the under drawing as part of the overall painting. Above is the initial layout drawing. I always start my works with an idea or concept sketch, these are very loose as I search for the perspective and composition that best describes what I am trying to say below is the concept sketch for the above work.

Initial concept drawing

                                                   Developed underpainting drawing

                                            Fast food. Oil and Acrylic on panel. 5x4' 2017

 I don't use reference material or models for my work as I don't wish to be encumbered by possible visual motifs present within the photography that I may transpose unwittingly to the painting. This would in my view pollute the work. I therefore rely on memory and my developed knowledge of anatomy and other visual motifs and objects. I enjoy the painting stage best as I can be free and arbitrary in my colour selection. I work quickly at this stage having small breaks to view at a distance my progress, and to decide where next to put colour. For a painting to 'work' is like a big game of chess, complementary colours and opposites are juxtaposed to find the best effect. Rules are broken constantly to achieve discourse and dynamism. I enjoy changing effects and creating different views. Overall the style allows me to stretch and manipulate the visual effect. I have developed an anonymous look to my figures, and  as with my previous style this is to distance them from any ethnic origin and reinforce the universality of the humans in  my work. The seemingly indiscriminate colour forms in my work are a development of my previous work in that they are both a substance in themselves and may be related to molecules, DNA, elements in the universe, biological or scientific elements, and/or spiritual entities. They are also used to develop the composition both physically and in their colour form. Overall, I am pleased with my painting progress both stylistically and as a means of expression. Again the work is not to everyone's taste and the subject matter may even offend some people. I feel the way to make a painting with a strong message is to be honest, even if it appears brutal. There are no rules in painting only subjectivity. open to infinite creativity and free abandon, One of the many reasons of why I love painting and why I paint.