The autumn opened up space to reflect and explore as I embarked on making new work for shows in the spring this year. Thinking about what has worked, what is missing, what I want more of / what I don’t want to make and so on. I have been looking at the work of John Virtue and David Tress. Enjoying the visceral gestures and expression in their work. There is an underlying power that emanates from and underpins the paintings. One feels as though they are alive.
To complement this studio research, in recent months I have returned to a daily routine of walking. Stomping up the hill first thing with a sketchbook and scribbling till my hands cramp with cold, or marking thoughts with quick snaps on my phone to be used as mnemonic triggers back in the studio. The practice has many benefits, including a key impact on health and wellbeing which I find essential in the dark winter months.
I love the quiet solitude of walking and the gentle companionship of hedgerows, birdsong and rolling fields. Returning to the same spots has become a ritual. I notice a longing as I greet favourite places like friends. We spend moments together. I keep meaning to take someone knowledgeable with me to find out the names of different crops. There is a patch on a hill that looks like reeds but isn’t. They are dried winter gold, and rustle in the wind. Meanwhile hedgerows glow aubergine, dark red and onyx green. Like a dog – I am essentially happiest when walked and fed, and especially if there have been interesting sights, smells, sounds or sensations whilst out. The difference then being that instead of curling up and sleeping (as would be somewhat appealing in January), the studio clothes go on and I walk down to the shed, clean brushes in hand. (I am often greeted by people in the village who see me wondering around covered in paint holding a pot of brushes).
The aim of all this is to reach something essential. To create paintings that are not specific representations of place, but rather say something about the raw experience as it was lived and is then remembered. The thought is half seen in the mind as the starting point. At the start I never know what they will eventually look like, but through a process of playing with materials something emerges. the intention being that this will unlock a similar memory or sensation in the viewer.
So new bodies of work have returned to mark making, drawing, and process. Some pieces are more successful than others. Some make me queasy. Others are just right. There is work to be done…
New works will be shown at
- The Affordable Art Fair, Battersea with Byard Art 7-10 March
- The Other Art Fair, Truman Brewery where I will be showing a curated collection with Hermione Carline on a shared stand to celebrate our 10th editions of the fair. 14-17 March
- Fresh Art Fair, Cheltenham with Byard Art 26 – 28 April