First use of oil bars. Not the easiest to use. I’ll have blue under my fingernails for weeks.
My first completed painting for several months. This has been sitting on my easel for about four months, waiting for me to finish it. I have been rather side-tracked lately, doing various jobs about the house in preparation for the arrival of my third child early next year. Nice to finally finish it, as the longer I leave a painting, the harder it is to get back into it, and every time I see it, it stares back at me accusingly.
What I meant by this is that people often project their own hostility and prejudices onto others. This can be self-fulfilling; if we show hostility towards others because we believe they are hostile towards us, they will become hostile towards us. It is a self-fulfilling cycle of hostility, born of an unfounded negative attitude. I think this is an important lesson, and something we should be watchful for in ourselves.
I have been interested in the ancient Egyptian culture for many years, and have wanted to create a replica of a papyrus fragment for some time.
I wrote the phrase in 1999, made my first attempt to translate it into ancient Egyptian around 2000, reworked the translation again in 2011 and drew the design for the papyrus, then finally created the finished ‘papyrus’ in 2015. I am very glad to have finally finished this project, and I am quite pleased with the result (although I’m sure any genuine Egyptologist would find no end of mistakes in my attempt at translation).
In Black Elk Speaks, (being the life story of a holy man of the Oglala Sioux, as told through John G Neihardt) Black Elk explains how his power derives from visions he experienced on several occasions throughout his life. He says that in order to use his power, he has to ‘perform’ these visions on Earth for the people to see. He also says that when he has performed a vision, that power is in some way used up and he loses it.
Whilst I do not believe in the supernatural, or the literal power of visions, I see a parallel between this idea and my painting. When I have an idea for an abstract painting, it exists only as potential. There is great ‘power’ in this potential – something that could lead to any number of new images, new ‘visions’, new worlds. This power only has any meaning, however, once the idea is ‘performed’ – once I have used it to create a painting. Once I have done this, the new creation – the painting – exists for all to see, but the potential – that great power, is lost to me, and cannot be reused. Every painting feels like a part of me that I have given away.
I have recently completed a painting titled ‘Performance (Purple and Pink)’:
The following is a speeded up (x100) film of the entire painting process:
And here is a film of my thoughts in between painting sessions:
Here is my latest painting – ‘Footsteps on Beer Beach’. The painting is of water-filled indentations in the rock on the beach at Beer, Devon. These looked very like footprints, and made me think of the link between my own footsteps and those made by prehistoric man.
On the right is an animated GIF of intermediate stages of the painting. Please forgive the blurry nature of some of the photos and the colour variation!