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The majority of my work begins with drawing, the most immediate form of mark making being instant and comprehensive in capturing the ephemeral and are executed largely in oils. The mark is paramount, I will use anything that I see to make a painting when it occurs to me both in terms of the landscape and a variety of tools as alternatives to brushes, drawn, painted, scratched, gouged, flooded, scrubbed, dried or dragged, revealing the previous layers; whether accidental or deliberate it is an attempt to convey those first sensations that made me stop and choose a particular viewpoint, before secondary concerns of deliberate representation. They are not attempts to make topographical works but it is the mood of the series and the emotions aroused that are of paramount importance. This can be as direct as looking at a beach at low tide as with the Brazilian paintings where I experienced new colours and atmospheres, yet the seascapes reminding me of the North Norfolk coastline or as simple as a pen & ink drawing in the life room.
Having worked outside for many years I developed a rapid painting style to convey the sensation and capture the memory of the experience, colour texture and innovative use of the paint are very important in gaining this experience. Some works have taken up to ten years, some 'happen' relatively quickly, though much thought and pre sketches go into them.
The process itself becomes part of the subject thus creating an ambiguous connection and a whole new potential to the image, diversions due to following the ‘happy accident’ sometimes lead to an alternative path and frequently enhance the original thoughts, I believe, through their spontaneity.
Over all the works are an improvisation of thoughts, feelings, definite and indefinite actions during the process of making, presenting a specific form in a certain time and a delicate exploration of the dialogue between the process and the subject.
As a student I came across the words of TS Eliot and these have remained a mantra for me ever since:-
and every attempt
is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
because one has only learnt to get the better of words
for the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
one is no longer disposed to say it. And each venture
is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
with shabby equipment always deteriorating
in the general ness of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion, and what there is to conquer
by strength and submission, has already been discovered
once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
to emulate - but there is no competition -
there is only the fight to recover what has been lost
and found and lost again, and now under conditions
that seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss
for there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.