As much as I respect the skill and patience invested in the painting of still life, my hand is compelled to paint the figurative and abstract.
I enjoy contorting figures and shapes to illustrate a weakness and fragility in our humanity. It is the sinewy, skeletal tensions of the lines I am attracted to. Full or aspects of torso and shape fascinate me, with its potential for telling hard tales of lost love, indelible grief or shades of madness. I paint darkness with vigour and colour.
Although I am in my fifties I am a newcomer to painting, I am a prime example of how art can be addictive and I see in my work that I am still learning, my style evolving as I craft. Informally trained, my art is Brut Art, raw, naive. I am still ignorant about painting styles and techniques and even more bemused by the jargon and artspeak of the Art world. But slowly, my paintings are reflecting a maturing voice that does, and will, have something to say to, and about, the world.
Now that I have found a voice in painting I will not stop talking, I am driven by the need to be listened to in my art, even though the world may not want to hear it: ‘dark, haunting, intense, honest, crude, ugly, unskilled’. These are some of the visitor’s comments recorded in my exhibition’s book. Whatever adjective or invective my paintings have provoked, my work incites a response like a good argument should.
I started painting with acrylics ignorant of how limiting the medium was because of its drying times, but I rose to its challenges and learnt to paint frenetically to capture shade, shape and texture.
And then I discovered oil. Painting with oils is slower, considered, but sensuous, with different strokes producing different shades and textures of emotion. Diluting colours with Linseed oil intensifies this medium. The viewer can read in the chronology of my paintings the subtle pleasures derived by using oils even though oil paint has a frustratingly slow drying time. I feel oil has taken my work to another level.
I paint on a large scale (average canvas is 1m x 1m or larger) not because I am arrogant, but because I am confident. I have something to say and the world will listen. “Bigger, better, bolder”, the voices in my head command.
Heroes? There are no heroes in life, just ordinary people with extraordinary abilities. Artist Peter Howson is a painter I admire: the honest way he reveals his, our, damaged soul to the world is an inspiration, which encouraged me to be as brave on the canvas.
I do not know where my passion / obsession for painting will take me but the journey alone has been rewarding.