Well my pictures are selling, I’m getting into exhibitions, the time has come for an “artists statement”! Like everything I do I like to be properly prepared so I did a little research… well actually quite a lot.
Firstly it can’t be in English, it must be in Artspeak. If it is in understandable English then it immediately tells anyone in the big money art world that I am an interloper and a fraud. There are certain words that need to be got in such as “dialectic” ‘juxtaposition” “concerns” though any word if sufficiently indefinite can be pressed into service. Operators such as focus, resolving, imbuing, inhabiting seem very useful.
How to start? Well, I might say: “I am a landscape painter who paints what I see as well as I am able.” This plainly won’t do, I mean you understood it, and that is a complete non starter. So here’s a translation: “I am concerned with the ephemeral uncertainties of place and time and try to use skill in an ironic manner to juxtapose paint, surface and the uncertainties of perceived reality upon the picture plane.” Not bad for a first line, but I need more.
“I mostly paint from direct observation or am guided by that when painting in the studio from reference.” Again worryingly clear, it needs a make over: “I attempt to absorb direct spectral stimulation relating to place and landscape and then analyse/metamorphose it real time in spatio-textural terms. Later I refer to regions of past biological and mechanical memory when exploring ideas of past place and the illumination of other days. Finally I transfer them to an interior conceptual structure anchored in conceptual and remembered truth refocussed by the lens of craft, always making a continued dialogue to preserve honesty to the physical materials employed.”
Getting there, but not pushing enough of those arty buttons yet. Proper art speak has impossible conflicting ideas, such as, “The silence I find in painting deafens me with its empty complexities/simplicities.” See this shows you are really “up there”intellectually, able to ponder imponderables and to listen when silence shouts at you! If you can manage this sort of thinking then the painting must be damn good even if it looks rubbish to the eye. Also it mustn’t be easy this stuff is hauled up from your inner being leaving unhealed wounds as you give birth to it!
So a bit about process… “I draw it out first then paint it from important to less important simplifying and combining as I go and try to stop once it seems complete.”
That more or less what I do, but it need lots more drama: “I first wrestle with the nature of line and continuity, I attune my inner being with the beginnings and endings of things and attempt to redefine the actual in terms of linear diversity and the certainty of death. I am always concerned with the ambivalence of mark making to the given surface. I continue to state and re-state the half understood in a quest for causing its final form to coalesce from the specific to the general. I always try to respond/resonate to the hierarchical dependencies inherent in my immediate concerns. I am always seeking the end, the whole, the word that speaks of the true emptiness of being.” Hmm maybe bringing death in at that moment is a bit much… but I need to get mortality into it somehow. I mean if I’m so damn sensitive it must be on my mind lots and lots. Living on the edge, hanging by a string, skating on thin rhetoric, this stuff needs to be dangerous.
The only slight concern so far is that often artists write as if it is someone else spouting this guff. Almost as if a reviewer is writing the piece having been overcome by the genius, tension and pathos of your efforts. It also says that you as an artist are swimming in the rarified airs that waft around the very peak of Mt Parnassus and so could not possibly stoop to writing anything as mundane as a statement. Maybe later when I am more established in the artistic constellations!
We need some sort of resolution of goals what am I trying to say with my work… in reality I am not trying to say anything. If I could say it I would use speech and save myself a lot of effort. It is the great weakness I have, I am espousing no message, there are no subtexts. I am making no complaints about the state of mankind or the world. I am not trying to shock, disgust, disorientate, confuse or perplex. I am trying to deliver visual interest and pleasure via the mood and atmosphere of renderings of real places. This might be a start, I can use the word “elagaic” which must be worth a few art points. I’ll use this as an ending. So here we go with some on the fly editing!
As a painter I am concerned with the ephemeral uncertainties of place and time and try to use skill and contrivance in an ironic manner to resolve the juxtapositions of paint, surface and the uncertainties of perceived reality upon the given form of the picture plane.
I attempt to respond to the direct spectral stimulation relating to place and landscape with the formal intention to analyse/metamorphose personal reality in spatio-textural terms. Later I refer to regions of past biological and learned mechanical memory to explore ideas of past place and the illumination of other days. Finally I transfer them to an interior conceptual structure anchored in conceptual and remembered truth refocussed by the lens of craft, always making a continual dialectical assessment to preserve honesty to the physical materials employed and offset the inherent dishonesty of illusory craft.
In creating a work I first wrestle with the nature of line and continuity, I attune my inner being with the beginnings and endings of things and attempt to redefine the actual in terms of linear diversity and the tension of spatial relationships. I am always concerned with the ambivalence of mark making to the given surface. I continue to state and re-state the half understood in a quest for causing its final form to coalesce from the specific to the general. I always try to respond/resonate to the hierarchical dependencies inherent in my immediate concerns. I am always seeking the end, the whole, the word that speaks to the true fullness inherent in the emptiness of being.
I am always seeking to provoke an elagaic response to the tension and pathos of the landscapes that bound and constrain my realms of concern, thus creating a dialogue between the acceptance/impossibility of mortality in the emotional/intellectual landscape of the viewer.
Now you have read that you are going to be so impressed with my credentials that you will fail to notice whether my actual paintings are any good or not. Try it, I bet you can’t tell which ones are rubbish! Remember if you do have any doubts about any of them you are just showing that you don’t have the intellectual or emotional depth to understand them, it is not the paintings that are falling short but your ability to appreciate them! I am coming round to this contemporary art thing. It really is win win for the artists, dealers and galleries, no wonder it caught on. The onus is no longer on me the painter to paint but on you the viewer to see or at least to pretend to see in order to avoid embarrassment and people thinking you are shallow.
I was very kindly invited by Steven Alexander to paint in Surrey. This is Heckfield Church. 1/4 sheet. Lovely spot I was much taken by the Bullrushes!
A very rushed painting of Hartley Wintney, I only had 45min which was not enough for a 1/4 sheet. I probably should have done a smaller one but the
light was lovely so I had to have a go.
The weather then proceeded to be cruel to us. Wind I can handle or rain, but both at once is impossible in any media. Not to be put off we sat in a circle
and painted each other painting each other! This is Tony Lawman who is painting me. I loved the light in Steve’s studio, just catching edges but allowing
other areas to merge. 10in by 14in oils. Reminds me I must do some more portraits as I really enjoy doing them.
This is Albury St one of the few streets in Deptford the planners didn’t knock down in the service of the modern. The old housed fetch a bundle now not
bad for houses zoned as slum clearance. 5in by 7in Watercolour.
This is Deptford market on a quiet afternoon. I worked really hard on the drawing before stating this as the structure was so important. The lady I sketched
on the verso of the previous picture. It is so much better to do that than try and put figures directly in. I did have to make her larger though, she was tiny
well under 4ft! 5in by 7in watercolour.
Another Brass Monkey day this time in Blackheath. Despite the cataclysmic wether forecast the day was mostly lovely. So nice to
paint in a group both for the company and also because you end up trying things you might not have if alone. 12in by 10in oils.
This subject was spotted by Graham Davies. Not something I often do but I enjoyed it and like the result. 12in by 10in oils.
The story of the Brass Monkey day is here in a separate blog I have started… as it I needed more distractions!