It can’t be too difficult to hang a few pictures up I hear you say, or at least I imagine it. Nothing could be further from the truth! 2018 was the last time I was able to take part in this event and I am painfully aware that I am not as young as I used to be. There are pictures to be unpacked, edges to be painted on new works and hanging fittings put on, browsers to be mined out from the depth of the garage and filled up. Price list up dated, cards priced, and on top of everything else the house to be cleaned. Emerging from the burrow of lockdowns and coming blinking into the daylight one is suddenly aware of all those jobs left undone over the last couple of years, As well as all this there is the endless job of feeding us, mowing the lawn and tidying the garden and studio ready for visitors. The trail starts on Sat. 30th and is on for the first two weekends in May including bank holiday Monday. Wish me luck!
I feel so frustrated and upset with everything going on at the moment and the fact that we seem to be moving at snail pace tackling the biggest threat to our existence, Climate Change, that I had to express it with art. I didn’t want to be neat but rather rough and immediate. Oil Man is the result. Oil and oil pastels on canvas 80x100cm.
Whilst distressed and angry about current events I decided to work more on an idea I had a couple of years ago. I did a small digital sketch with a view to working it into a painting later, then covid happened and threw a spanner into my creativity. Now with this charcoal rough sketch I have made a start towards turning it into a large painting. It’s called ‘Oil man’ though I may find a better title later, the main thing is that I’m making a start so watch this space for progress.
I started this painting nearly two years ago in the wake of the terrible Australian bush fires but it represents the condition of the world we are living in. I use harlequins to represent humanity in various conditions but in this there is a nod to the sleeping politicians who have many words but continue in their stupor of inaction.
As I drank my tea sitting in the lovely early morning sunlight on the disheveled autumnal front garden the light was so beautiful that I decided to take our my pastels and sketch. Trying to be free and pastels are a great help with that, I love using them.
I started this painting at the start of 2020 after the distressing forest fires burning in Australia and other places in the world then covid took off and lock downs happened and somehow my painting dried up in favour of growing vegetables. At last I have started to work on it again though its quite a daunting task as it is a very big canvases big I have to stand on a small stool to reach the top. So far I have had two sessions on it and have made progress but there is a lot more work to do. Watch this space!
There is a value in keeping a painting you think is finished hanging around the studio where you can see it because it will talk to you sometimes screaming until you pickup a brush and correct the offending area. This painting was such a one. It didn’t look right and had a sort of empty space in the middle. I had tried to keep the area with the golden marjoram in the centre clear but just ended up with a hole so I decided to extend the white umbels using oil pastels instead of paint. I won’t work on it again however loud it tries to make itself heard I have had enough it.
Oil on Block canvas 80x80cm
Last year before the lockdowns I started two paintings as a reaction to the terrible fires in Australia then stopped working altogether, I finished them both recently. I was very moved and distressed by the extreme nature of those fires as well as all the other warnings the planet seems to be giving us that we seriously need to change our ways.
This last couple of weeks I have started painting again. It all dried up during the stress of the covid outbreak with all its accompaniments leaving my studio littered with several unfinished works. I have now reduced that to one which is very large. This painting of part of our garden was the first to be attacked and now after several sessions seems to be finished. Summer Garden, oil on cotton box canvas 80x80cm.
I see in my last post I said was coming out of hibernation but that was a bit premature as we entered more months of lockdown. Now two vaccination shots and a lot of Winter later life is gradually taking on a semblance of normality though still very different from before Covid. Stuff I planted in my garden last year survived the unusual cold (for South England) in February, an April that had morning frosts nearly every day, plenty of sun but cold winds and no rain at all for the whole month. Everything was late and now after lots of rain everything is making up for lost time and is growing like mad. My front garden is like a jungle and and as I went in to do deadheading I joked ‘If I’m not back in half an hour send in a search party.’
Here are a few shots of this time.