Snowdrops and silver linings


I’m not a completer…that’s to say I struggle to settle projects of any kind.  I envy those people who can quickly and efficiently move from the ideas stage, power through the development and know clearly when something is complete.  I really wish I could put paintings convincingly to bed.  But I cannot…and a small consolation is that a few of the other painters I admire have said similar.  I’ve heard both Thomas Nozkowski and Howard Hodgkin say that some paintings sit around their studios for years waiting to be resolved, now that’s an experience I do know about!  So it is hard to say when this Winter Cycle project will finally come to a close.  I’ve got seventeen of the twenty seven panels notionally complete and Snowdrops here I think might be joining them.  Two others are pretty much the way I imagine I want them to be but today I’ve faffed and mooched around, fiddling with other projects, making minor adjustments to them just to avoid telling myself they are finished.

There are other tasks that need attention and some exciting new things on the horizon too…a show to finalise and more besides.  But I feel that I need to sign off the Cycle…not that as I write the winter has quite left us, its cold, wet and winter despite being the first day of June.  But every cloud they say…England are struggling to save the second test against New Zealand…and play has been abandoned at Headingley for the day – but I even feel bad about this as I realise how unsporting it is to hope that the weather will save our bacon!

Thoughts on figuration…

bish bosh
photo photoshopped – source for new pictures?


Though I have at least three projects already in mind for when I’ve finished the current Deadly Delicious series I’m now giving some thought to figuration again. This seems to be a decade long itch (or thereabouts). Something similar happened back in 2004 and before that in 1994 (though that mainly resulted in incorporating some photographic images into the assemblage paintings at that time) and also back in 1984 when it grew into a peculiar and frankly bizarre two or three year interlude that culminated in making paintings about cricket!  At that point I stepped back and metaphorically hit the figurative ball for a big six right out of the ground…

End Of Empire
End Of Empire, Oil on Canvas, 78 x 62 inches, 1984

This time I’m imagining making some paintings that reflect my interest in looking at ‘old art’…something I do a lot more of nowadays, in part as a result of my trips out with my pal Simon.  Hence the little fella with the cow? about to fall on his head (top of column).  Regular and eagle eyed readers may be able to figure out where he was plundered from…  I’m also intending to keep the formal and stylistic manners from the current work and of course the debate might continue…the current series after all are images of something that exists and we can ‘see’ (courtesy of electron microscopy) and the guy here is pretty much ‘abstracted’ already and I haven’t yet begun painting him…  So maybe the gap between the two will be quite small.