This blog is about what, why and how I produce my art, and also what I do with it – be it in exhibitions, competitions, or sit in a corner of a room ashamed of itself.
Fragments of a dream
These pieces are further explorations and a certain amount of playfulness and experimentation into externalising the internal.
They originated as images of pieces of my painting ‘Fools Gold’ which I found to be paintings within their own right. By taking photos of fragments of something, that action of framing and narrowing down the focus cannot help but create something different again. I think it allows the imagination to do something else with what is captured. Different suggestions and ideas are manifested as the border and emphasis is altered. It might be that detail that gets lost in the big painting can really be studied and comes into its own, or a certain perspective looks quite different when it is isolated.
It does not surprise me that these pieces can work like this as when I create the original painting I do a lot of detailed work very close to the canvas, becoming very absorbed in the activity, so in a sense in isolation to the rest of the painting – although I periodically step back to see what this has done as a whole, and what I need to do for it to unite (or deliberately jar) with everything else..
In respect to these fragmented images I have transferred them to found pieces of wood (all quite small) – sometimes going over the sides so that I was effectively crossing over the boundaries and borders that one would expect from a painting. As the images turned corners, it gives them an extra dimension they did not have before. They are not aiming to be loud or sensationalistic – but rather trying to take a quiet, contemplative turn. Although three dimensional, these pieces I still consider to be paintings and not sculptures. I have entitled the pieces as a collection ‘Fragments of a Dream’ – named after the musical collaboration by classical guitarist John Williams and flamenco guitarist Paco Peña.
It has been quite some time since I have last written. This is simply due to the pain in my arm. Thankfully things seem to be slowly on the mend now so I am gently but surely resuming what was (I recommend Platelet Rich Plasma injections for damaged tendons).
Following on from my Kindle illustration for my friend’s book, I have completed and had published the other 2. That’s the trilogy complete now. You can buy these Kindle books on
Overall it was an interesting experience working to a brief. My friend (the client) provided some initial thoughts for the illustrations and from here I drafted up some potential ideas. What we both found was that the less complicated the illustration, the more successful it was. Equally trying to fit too much in just confused things and didn’t work at all. The client was keen to maintain a common theme for the trilogy’s illustration so once we had agreed the first, we had a good basis from which to continue.
In terms of my own work whilst I am actively thinking about new ideas I wanted to carry on with some of the other digital pieces I had started last year. This has been an interesting exercise to do in itself as the initial feeling and drive I had felt for these paintings have long disappeared so I am essentially painting with new and objective eyes. ‘The Coward’ is transforming before me – still don’t think I am there yet. It is an all encompassing feeling I am trying to capture, a type of dream-like monster thing that cannot be pinned down – with elements of fantasy and hope, but with the suggestions of nightmarish cancerous obsession.
‘Floating’ is well on the way. It;s hard to tell by this photograph but it has subtle texture in it that you can only see when you venture close up. This kind of grounds the painting, yet from a distance I am trying to get the feeling of suspension and transience. I like to play with dichotomies like this.
‘The Order of Things’ is quite experimental. Think I probably prefer my digital version, but this painted piece allows me to explore with different techniques. That is the beauty of one’s art when one doesn’t like it – it becomes so much easier to let go as there is nothing to lose.
‘Flutter’ I think is perhaps a bit representational still. Whilst I am happy enough with the general spirit of it, it is too suggestive of religious faith for my liking. This is not to say that I have a problem if people view it in that way, but more that I would like it to have potential wider connotations. It always seems to go back to the same thing for me, the crossing and blurring of borders, the idea of the capturing of that which cannot be defined but can nevertheless be somehow recognised and understood.
Going forward to new work, I am in a way (and for the time being) narrowing down my investigations. Over the last umpteenth months as I have been recovering, my life has become very insular and in this isolation it allows me to study things more quietly and for much longer periods. I become fascinated often with the simplicity (and what a misnomer this simplicity actually is) of objects and how they sit in space. This could range for example from a piece of washing on the floor, a sparse branch on a tree, or a shadow on a wall.
There is no doubt that my personal situation and the general context of my life, knowledge and experience has considerable impact on how I view these objects and where then my imagination takes me. With this in mind, I am in the early stages of photographing these objects and digitally playing with the possibilities.
In addition to this I have been some experimenting collaging photos onto found pieces of wood that I have found in skips – trying to blur the boundary between the image and the physical form upon which it sits.
Upwards and onwards as my piano teacher use to say
The last time I wrote I had been diagnosed with Tennis Elbow. It makes painting difficult. I can only do it for a short time so progress is very slow.
However this has given me time to step back and think and put other things into action. It has always been important to me that my work is accessible to not just the art world. As much as I love the fact that those who have a background in art are more likely to get what my work is about, and to perhaps appreciate the subtleties, I like my work to also be able to reach others.
With this in mind, I organised an exhibition called ‘Exhibit A’ in the Chelsea Library Gallery in the Kings Road with 3 other colleagues. I designed the poster for this one – made up of images of work from all the exhibiting artists. It was well received and whilst it did give me some arm pain, the work we installed was relatively small and I had a lot of help. All in all it was a great experience and went very smoothly and happily.
For something completely different – I recently completed an illustration for a friend to use for a book she was self-publishing on Kindle. She has commissioned me to do the next 2 books of hers as well, and thankfully is patient enough to wait on account of my arm and other college commitments. Whilst I can honestly say illustration is not my forte, it was a good experience and I am delighted to have been asked to do more. It has made me think about how to stretch myself further and to try other avenues to use my art. Just to have a go really.
Back to my painting – I have mentioned previously I have been exploring the focusing of small areas within my actual paintings. Looking at the connection between paintings, the dialogue, enhancing and investigating from a different point of view. ‘Eyecandy’ grew out of ‘The Proposition’. The painting illustrated here is not complete, but it’s on its way. Dig deep and you will never know what you may find.
You can only do what you can do
Funny how life throws us these little challenges and the knock on effects of these. I have recently had to have a rethink how I do things in relation to my art. This is due to problems with my tendons in my right (and main) arm (tennis elbow). So certain (and many) actions make it sear with pain and anything involving anything heavy or resistance and twisting, is just impossible. This critically affects my digital art work, painting, stretcher making and canvas stretching. I can’t do the latter two at all, and the others I have to do just a little bit at a time.
So this has set me on a mission to find other ways to make my work. Currently I am looking into different companies to print my canvases, provide the stretchers and mount them for me. As luck would have it, there seems to be quite a few companies lately offering this at discount prices (and delivering). It is going to take a bit of trial and error, and I having to go smaller in the size of my work but it couldn’t be more opportune!
‘The Order of Things and ‘The Coward’ are two pieces I have recently had transferred to canvas and the latter I have started to paint on.
They will be worked on slowly….