Its chucking it down out there and I’ve spent a good proportion of the day in my studio. I am still working on my ‘Abstract City’ series, be it a little slow. One of the things I consistently find difficult when I am painting within a digital montage of mine, is to let go and get away from the image in front of me. It is true that much of the work is done via my photography and my digital editing and drawing. However my intention with this series (as it is with much of my work) is to disengage myself from what I see as a whole, and work with the rhythms and patterns that suggest themselves to me.I have a few devices that help me do this; constantly turning the work around to lose the context, or stepping back and squinting my eyes. But I think the most successful thing that works for me is just to put music on and let it wash over me. This helps me become unattached and work more on an instinctive basis.
I also tend to hone right in to parts within the work (no matter how small the piece) and focus on the detail. The work as a whole might suggest certain things to me and it is with this in mind that I embellish and add the paint. It’s not just about highlighting or toning down but very often adding new motifs and structures. This close-up attention means that I occasionally have to step back and see whether it works as a whole. My work does tend to become too complex quite easily and I may have to create space within the work to give it some visual respite.
Sometimes I might get a bit stuck as to what I am doing next, but I find sitting on the floor for a copious amount of time staring at it can help considerably as well as leaving the studio and getting yet another cup of tea. I also get a fair bit of my inspiration by looking through travel and interior design books and images, particularly when it comes to the use of colour and maybe an idea for a different kind of mark making. I have many a ruined book in my studio with paint finger marks all over it where it has been the subject of a good perusal. I look for ideas that might work with my initial premise which I would then have a play with. It’s not always obvious but a way of helping me liberate my preconceptions and natural inclinations.
2 of the images I display here are from one of my ‘Abstract City’ series. In my head I call this piece ‘Asian and Orient’ which gives a bit of a clue to the elements I am focusing on. The original montage is based on photographs I took whilst wandering around Bordeaux as are all the other works in the series. The other image I have displayed here I refer to as ‘Fretwork’ – mainly because the original montage focuses on fencing and fretwork around the area. The close-up of the added paint-work demonstrates how I have focused on the patterns, shapes and colours that are suggested to me. The final pieces may end up changing considerably both in terms of how it looks and what I call them. I never let my original idea hold up its destination.