The generation of an idea for a painting, or a series of paintings, isn’t really that hard.Actually finding the form for the notion and then committing it to canvas or paper (or whatever other support you come up with) is a darn sight more tricky – for me at least.I sometimes envy those painters who go to work day after day (even year after year) knowing that it will be more rectangular stains or oily stripes or spots or whatever, and that these vehicles can encompass all their feelings for what they think the picture might stand for.
And as I come towards the end of a group of like minded pictures (occasioned by either a natural or practical conclusion) I start thinking about what may come after.But rather than moving forward with freshly minted thoughts it seems like one of those times to think about mining older shelved projects. So I’m toying with a set of canvases that will be based on the stack of collages made off the back of a trip to the Minervois way back in 2007…
But for the present here’s one that started out down in Dorset…text then from Robin Robertson’s poem of the same name…
and what a grand day to be doing so…hard to believe it’s still early February. But we (being my pal Simon and myself) got stuck into the latest instalment of the seemingly endless task of visiting every place listed in the various District guides for the county of Leicestershire. As it happens we haven’t yet completed Melton but a new year gets us out into Harborough (we polished off Charnwood some time back and I did NWLeics years ago). The point of the exercise for me is to assemble a collection of small (40 x 50 cms.) paintings each representing, albeit very abstractly, every location visited. For Simon it’s the photographs themselves and, as I’ve said here before, if you want top quality images his blog is where you should head off to!
The paintings are invariably derived, very loosely, from crude collages of images taken on the journey. So here we have one such…using two snaps made in Thorpe Langton, one of the Langton’s (there are five in all) in the Welland Valley. Actually the Harborough project is a rather tricky blighter…the previous three guides elided the places on the map contained within the guide and the ‘biogs’ of places therein. But this one doesn’t – some places are on the map but not discussed and vice versa. What to do? choose one or the other or do the lot? A question that won’t need resolution until I get around to the paintings stage and that will be a ways off as Charnwood still has 18 canvases awaiting completion whilst Melton still hasn’t got its full set of collages.
Meanwhile other picture making continues apace…another canvas from a newer series that has a putative title to be announced here soon… This one is The Approach, acrylic on canvas, 80 x 55 cms.
I imagine that for the ‘strivers’ this is around the time that New Year resolutions start to get irksome. They would for me if I were the sort to pose myself tough ambitions of that kind. As it is I’m simply resolved to get some things ‘resolved’ this year. So no new projects, no purchases of fresh timber, new canvas or paints and – especially – no new ‘ideas’! Of course what I call ‘ideas’ is a rather grand term for what are just notions that mostly go out the window I start working on them.
So instead I’ve made an inventory of all the various half baked things on the go at the moment. I say inventory but really I’ve just had a mooch about the studio and dragged out everything that’s sitting there. And set about deciding what might be potentially be ‘resolved’, whether that’s a bit of ‘tickling up’, more radical surgery or being put out of its misery. It includes the growing mountain of paper works, offcuts of full sheets, each boxed up at various sizes, of which the biggest is the Wonky Geometry series at 27 x 27 cm. This constitutes 112 pieces to date, the last six of which are shown above, the result of a few days of ‘resolution’.
right here…Hazlewood Marshes on the Alde just outside Aldeburgh in Suffolk. It helped to have a sunset of that intensity on 10th January of course! We love opportunities to get away to the coast, quite a hike for us here in the centre of the country. And though it rather gets in the way of making work the chance to relax and enjoy such a location is much appreciated. However it’s also the case that just occasionally here and there as one wanders about you see things that will impact on the making of paintings. So it was on this trip.
A sadly departed pal used to be quite grumpy about what he called ‘festive jollities’ and though I tried to look more sanguine when he said it I tended secretly to feel the same. In my dotage I’m taking a more relaxed view of it and, as I believe the young folk say, ‘going with the flow’ In fact giving the festive music full rein in the house I’m rather taken with this track that somehow I’d hitherto never come across – I offer it as seasons greetings…
I dunno why really but the impending ‘end of year’ schtick impels me to ‘tidy’ stuff up. It probably stems from the ‘bad old days’ (that were pretty ok really) when I was employed and the Christmas/New Year break seemed a good time for clearing decks and finishing projects. Now of course I’m in the fortunate position that one day is pretty much like another but the impulse lives on. So I’m trying to ‘complete’ (only to my own satisfaction naturally) the works that have been kicking about for the past few months or in some cases years. Its probably just as well as otherwise quite a few might never get sorted.
Earlier this autumn I put on another show at Deda in Derby. My contributions are shown above. I donated Cape Poem to the organisation as part of a fundraiser and contributed a short video piece that can be viewed here. I’ve a great fondness for Deda and been a long time supporter as well as putting on shows there. I’d appreciate any support that others might give them!