As people often begin a new blog… I simply can’t believe it’s been so long since I blogged. But not having anything significant to say is the main reason for my absence. Now I think I have something to say.
What inspired this? Australia? Red ferns growing on a Cornish cliff?
Perhaps Walton on the Naze red crag teeming with fossils?
It’s reminiscent of all these places. Any one of them could have been floating around in my mind as I slathered delicious paint around in a semi-attentive mood. Yet it’s not really any of these. It just slipped onto the canvas when I was feeling very low. The day before the second Covid19 lockdown. How on earth was I going to get through 4 weeks of barely leaving the house let alone going somewhere beautiful to sketch and swim – my normal way of starting?
Then I watched an astonishing TV programme –The Disordered Eye on BBC4. The two incidents may seem unrelated but after the programme I may be on the verge of emerging from a very long period of feeling stuck, floundering about, chasing unsuitable red herrings and generally regressing in my quest to become a proper artist…..Something clicked in my mind.
Obliged in the recent past, to provide an ‘Artists Statement’ at University and then again when I started to exhibit my work at exhibitions, I used to write sentences such as ‘my landscapes are not purely visual representations but attempts to paint the feelings of how it felt to be within a time and space and to express the multi-sensory experience’ ….. Hmm , well yes I thought that was what I was doing. But the theory was so much better expressed by Richard Hutchins in his remarkable documentary about Sargy Mann, the blind Suffolk painter and Keith Salmon, another blind painter. He went on to cite Degas, Monet, Cezanne and others. Many painters whom I have always admired and instinctively been ‘drawn’ to.
Those bland statements I had reluctantly forced myself to make were actually not so different from the principles of the poorly sighted artists which suddenly gave more integrity and purposeful meaning.
This little painting subconsciously illustrating a memory was , I think, one of the most significant I have ever painted. It came totally unprompted and I only realised what it was about some time later. By freeing my mind and tapping into my subconscious I had painted a deep-felt truth. No need to explain it further. With the photo next to it, I hope it speaks for itself and if the meaning is unclear, the viewer can interpret it in their own way.
I don’t need to go trudging around to find fresh scenes to inspire paintings. I actually can’t, due to the second Covid lockdown anyway.
I have, at my disposal, millions of memories of sights, sounds, experiences on which to focus and paint. The most difficult issue will be not to focus too consciously, but to let things just evolve. This time I must just let the paint truly dictate. Another phrase I once used which at the time was quite meaningless, but which now I’m beginning to understand.
And yes, my blogging is back.