This piece began in a similar way to my previous painting ‘Concrete Glass’. It started with an ordinary walk through an urban environment, but in this case, by the side of a small river close to where I live – a piece of wild London.
It is a diptych of a river bank, trees and weeds along the side, reflections within the water. It began with a photograph of the scene. I liked the fact that the actual trees and their reflections framed the image delicately and in equal balance.
Using Photoshop I merged an image of some material I had photographed. Originally this material had covered a building and hung in great swathes like some sort of shroud (something else that always seems to catch my attention.) I wanted to include it as it seemed to mirror and echo the movement within the water. I tried to emphasise how it dances and swirls and give a feeling of layers and depth within the river.
I printed my digital montage onto canvas and then using oil paint, I played with the colours, the light and the dark. Introducing small rough squares of pastel coloured paint I tried to emulate the sparkle and feeling of magic that occurs when the sun dapples upon the surface of the water.
I wanted to capture the sense of half-conscious thoughts that dreamily play with this ordinary but alive scene. A maelstrom of rhythms and patterns, suggestions of the baroque inner world, the idea of your subconscious looking back at you.
Somewhere in the shadows
This painting originated from a random photo I took as I was walking somewhere round London. I can’t recall what day it was and where I was going or even the time of day. It must have been sunny or else there would not have been any shadows. In fact I think it was the shadows that attracted me – the environment was very ordinary – a pathway in an urban street, weeds and grass growing against a ramshackle fence. All completely forgettable. However the shadows had a life of their own which I wanted to explore.
I created a triptych, deliberately repeating elements within the image, as if walking step by step. The contrast of the light and dark attracted me. That which is ethereal and only an illusion looks real and menacing; that which exists is washed out by the sun. I experiment with reversing the imagery and mirroring it against each other. I play with the space and movement within the image – the directional pull of the shadow against the pathway. To act as an interruption against this I insert another version of the image, focusing on a contrasting pattern against that of the pavement stones.
The colour palette is kept quiet and soft. The sparse plantation against the fence suggests to me the delicacy of Oriental gardens and courtyards. I am trying to evoke the idea of an area one passes through every day without really looking, but is there in the background, soaking into the subconscious, and triggering half formed thoughts and dreams.