That old familiar feeling

January 11, 2013

Entering my studio this morning I pondered upon what I would be spending my day doing… starting a new canvas or working on a medium sized piece that I had started yesterday?  Yesterday, I had spent the day painting the edges of the canvas’ brilliant white, ready for the framing next week or the week after… but on looking at the five canvas’ that I had (thought were) finished two leaped out at me as being very far from complete.

The two pieces lacked texture, contrast and overall depth… what had looked good yesterday looked flat and lifeless this morning.  I knew that I needed to be bolder and not hold back.

An all too familiar feeling started to creep over me, that sick feeling that develops from inner panic.  So often in the past I have had this feeling and ruined the piece, not trusting my instinct and not allowing my painting to flow.

Today I trusted myself.  The battle began.  I still had to go through feeling physically sick at the easel as I felt that not fully in control… but I pushed on through, and the resulting piece is so much the richer for trusting my instincts and painting outside of the comfort zone.

Ten minutes ago I washed the oil off my hands and downed my palette knives and brushes.  I do feel that it is now complete.

Here are the two pictures of the piece that I worked on today… the ‘before’ and the ‘after’.

Dark Peak

Before (above)  and after  (below)

Peak Darkened


Lovely Rain

January 9, 2013

The name of my latest piece is Lovely Rain.

Last summer Ang and I took the boys to Lathkilldale and walked from the southern end in the direction of Monyash…. we didn’t get far, only a short walk in the end, but we were treated to warm summer rain and extremely bright sunshine in between the heavy showers… the hedgerows and the trees were lit up in the wonderful light, vibrant, bright and glowing. The rain added something special to the walk, we sheltered under trees and watched the fish in the pools leaping for the insects in the air, a rainbow arched over us.  Beautiful day.

lovely rain

Lovely Rain  oil on canvas  75cm x 60cm



Back in the Groove

January 5, 2013

I will sing Northern Fells

During the Christmas holiday I got my mojo back!  it had been a long time coming,  Back in 2010 I had had two big solo shows, and had worked like a demon to get the pieces ready for exhibition.  Both shows were a success, but I felt a great sense of emptiness or anti-climax afterwards…. a feeling of being directionless, maybe.

Circumstances outside of my practice as an artist then kept me away from the easel… at first it was me throwing myself into renovating our new home and planning the building of a new studio as an addition to our new home… a great distraction from the internal confusion that I was feeling.  My crisis in confidence needed to be addressed and I did so practically through building works and landscape gardening.

And then, in 2011 my Mum became ill.  Terminally.  I spent 2011 and 2012 visiting her in Wales… and doing a whole heap of soul-searching and evaluating ‘stuff’.  Many good things did come out of a very painful couple of years, the silver lining most definitely edges my storm clouds.  mum and I shared a love of Art and a love of landscape, and through many wonderful conversations and time spent together I re-found my self-belief and gradually found myself back at the easel.

The two paintings that i have completed over the past two weeks are two of the best that I have painted.  They revisit old themes, significant places, but with new vision and passion.  Music and poetry inform my work more than ever, and both pieces feature poetry scratched into their layers or stenciled into the background…. new influences and inspirations… the poetry of Elaine Feinstein, the music and lyrics of Lisa Hannigan.

It feels good to be back.

I’m so happy to be back.

the tension between us