Some painters (and the work they produce) radiate a carefree ease that may well belie the rigorous practice that lies behind everything they do. Sometimes the outcome of a work, or a body of work will give little away with regard to the dynamic that went into producing it. Matisse is one such artist. His intensity of vision, his single-mindedness and pursuit of 'light' can leave you marvelling at the wonder of his work without any sense of its agony of production. It seems that is the way he wanted it.
Jason Berger, is a painter of pure delight. He died as recently as 2010 and though I know little about him, save a few things accessible on the web, he appeared to enjoy himself. This can sometimes be seen as a creative cardinal sin. Can anything worthwhile be born of enjoyment! I think that his boldness to create without walking the tightrope of fear – the fear of failure – is what makes his best paintings satisfy. They appear unworried, unburdened from having to match a list of criteria beyond the joy of making. This of course may lay them open to accusations of being lightweight, of not bing properly realised and amateurish (it appears he has little time for revision). I like them because they have a skip to their step. I like them because they are what they are. Jason Berger knew his stuff – as his CV will tell you – he just never seems overwhelmed by it.
Monday, 16 November 2015
Wednesday, 16 September 2015
Back last summer, whilst painting in the Bath Priory Hotel Gardens, a familiar face peered over my shoulder. Alistair. And, he was not alone but with Harriet. A year later and that day marked the beginning moments of their journey towards marriage.
A pastel painting of the ornamental pool at Bath Priory Hotel. Still water. A place of depth, rest and reflection – literal and eternal.
There are two who wander by the pool. Its myriad reflections ripple as wavelets of intense emotion. Barely contained and so rich in hue.
Alistair and Harriet, I honour you.
Wednesday, 19 August 2015
Seasons come and go. Times change. I am moving my working base which has provoked the beginning ructions of sorting…How can so much stuff be accumulated! It feels like a good time to clear some space, emotionally, creatively, physically. But, it is only a start. The move is coinciding with a creatively introverted period. Inward gestation. I want to purpose some change in what I do. Meantime, a painting sold from a gallery back in 2009.
Friday, 5 June 2015
The RWA Secret Postcard auction took place last night and I no longer need to be discreet. I contributed the following painting–'Paradise Garden'. The title came whilst listening to a radio drama on the early 20th century, British composer William Baines. He wrote a piece for the piano called 'Paradise Gardens'. The painting is not based on his music but, whilst searching for a title, it came to mind and seemed appropriate. The additional gouache and watercolour image, painted in situ at Bath Priory Hotel Kitchen Gardens, was completed in the same week and was another 'option' for the same RWA event. Though both paintings are landscapes they are demonstrably different. I like to think of them as two sides of the same coin. One is referential (though not accurate), the other transformational utilising sketchbook references, memory and imagination. The act of painting always asks the artist to consider the order and weight of colour, shape and mark–what to leave in and what to leave out. The final piece is the summation of intent through those choices.
Tuesday, 2 June 2015
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
Revisiting student work via old photos is strange. It seems like a 'lifetime' ago. I don't hanker after times past and tend not to feel deep pangs of nostalgia. What I do cherish, when looking back, is the privilege of three concentrated years of working. It created momentum that led to substantial growth. This is some transitional work from my second year and helped secure a small bursary to travel to Venice.
Tuesday, 14 April 2015
And so it was–A hot, late summer's day in 1986. I was sojourning with my mum and dad in Italy, post degree, and contemplating a future that seemed daunting rather than welcoming. I had some time on my hands, no fixed plan and I was tinkering around with a few ideas whilst helping here and there with a bit of building work, olive harvesting etc. One morning, armed with a hacksaw, a rather blunt pen knife and with a small, scruffy off cut of wood to hand I spent some time carving this little piece. The figure was based on the stereotypical sturdy, Italian small-holder. Originally, he was carrying a sack over his shoulder and back. Its crude execution and lack of artifice has always meant something to me.