This oil on canvas is simply called ‘Grenfell’ and needs no further description (but see note on it below in an earlier blog). It is one of the half-dozen or so paintings in the studio currently being worked on or, as in this case, being ‘rested’ pending a decision as to whether it is finished or not.
The remaining images in this post, except for the penultimate two, are in the same state and are assembled here really for my own convenience so that I can see where I am at the start of 2018. But feel free to join in ….
This is another dark one with familiar shapes – church, a motte, and a building – but unusual in being acrylic on cardboard. I think I can do something with this but it is of a Fowleresque genre that I don’t seem to be able to stop myself doing – simple two-dimensional shapes arranged one in front of another.
The yellow and black ‘abstract’ (I hope) to the right is actually based on a newspaper photograph which caught my eye precisely because of its juxtaposition of black and lemon yellow. The photograph was of two men lying down but my interest was simply in the composition of the shapes and colours.
This is clearly unfinished but I like the structure and fieryness in familiar shapes. I think I can do something with it once I’ve disposed of the awful purpley colour. Unusually, for the first time in years, it is entirely acrylic on canvas.
And now for two old works, brought out of store for this winter’s domestic exhibition. I’ve always liked the first one which was one of the earliest larger oils I made. It was in fact a prominent item in my first big solo exhibition in 2007. It reflects my many visits to West Penwith, Cornwall, and the early and enduring influence (at a distance!) of the ‘St Ives school’. Here I consciously had Ben Nicholson in mind and, more immediately, was following the advice of one of my early tutors, Roger Gill at St. Martin’s, then in Charing Cross Road. In fact, I painted this under his direct supervision at St. Martin’s during a weekend ‘Landscape’ course I was attending. I can hear his words now: ‘The horizon does not have to be horizontal, you know.’
Another early one also expresses my long-lasting engagement with the interface of sea and land, in this case an imagined vertical view of a seaside town with harbour, river, sand-dunes, car-park etc. Unusually, this was in watercolour.
This may well be the best landscape I’ve painted: it contains a degree of sophistication absent from earlier works of similar subject. It is 1 m wide and is multi-layered basically in oils on acrylic, with charcoal and chalk playing important roles. It can of course be viewed entirely as an abstract but every shape, mark and colour in it derives from my academic understanding of ‘landscape archaeology.’ It is currently drying and, as I see it, needs but a few tweaks to be ‘finished’. We’ll see if my critics agree.