Panic is a great motivator. I’ve got three solo shows and a group show coming up during June and July. Will I have enough work? As it is, no. I have been frantically creating and recreating.

I took the drastic decision to change some paintings I made last year which neither have the ‘wow’ nor the ‘subtlely-interesting’ factor. They are a striking cadmium red, which I’ve now decided should be just an occasional accent – there’s no point holding on to them as they are.

I’m also still working on the series of 120 x 120 canvases, meant to be random forms, vaguely clumps of grass on a chalk bank. They’re at the stage that I can leave them and live with them for a few days. They may be finished, but they look very different to the others, maybe that’s a good thing though.

When I’ve not been painting I’ve been re-reading ‘Art and Psychoanalysis’ by Peter Fuller. One of his comments in the chapter ‘Abstraction and The Potential Space’ struck me: ‘the least interesting subject for a painting is painting itself’ (paraphrased). Well, that is one of my concerns, rather, obsessions. The final work though always takes on other layers of meaning, references to the history of landscape painting, glimpses of forgotten memories of nature, hints of the sublime, references to spiritual and religious art. If the work lacks these things, then I suppose it is vacuous, devoid of depth and would be just about paint (as interesting as I find that).

Andrew Bryant has asked me to reflect on my practice living outside the UK… and that has reminded me of a comment made by my MA tutor: “You will never be in such a privileged position as you are as a student being able to work in the studio all the time”. Living here in the Pyrenees allows me to do just that – we’re pretty self-contained and have incomes from various sources, not only from my paintings – a situation that would not be possible in the UK. Thankfully I don’t have to teach and tutor anymore, it was inspirational, but draining, leaving very little energy to paint.

Some people may think that it is self-indulgent for my greatest concern during the week to be that a glaze has dried too quickly, but that’s the life I’ve chosen. A major issue is that what I do is in isolation, I miss regular interaction with kindred spirits – but then there are the contacts I’ve made through AN and collaborations with local and UK artists and musicians. And if I can’t easily visit them, I’ll invite them here to work with me in my studio.

I’m pleased that this summer I have a mix of French and UK exhibitions. The group show in June came about though someone seeing my work on a UK based website – the show will be in Camberwell and of abstract painting; opportunities like this have been pretty rare over the last two years, I suppose due to the financial climate. I’d like to be showing my paintings as much as I do my videos, maybe things are picking up.