Looking at the Paintings

Most of my paintings - and all recent ones - are shown entire plus accompanying details (click on the link beneath the title).  This is intended to enable you to get close up to the paint surface which is important because individual technique and textural qualities give the paintings their uniqueness.  With a little imagination you can extend this over the whole painting.

Recently, because of drying problems associated with the paint I've used for many years - something that has foxed even the makers - I have adapted my technique from what someone called "vigorous and disturbed impasto" to a more pasted appearance.  For example, if you view the detailed image of the painting The Girl on Blackthorn Hill #1 on the right below, I think you will see that surface richness has not been compromised. It has been an interesting diversion down an unexpected byway.  Detours often lead to mysterious places, and Devon itself is full of them.

The Girl on Blackthorn Hill #1
(move your mouse over the image on the left to zoom in)

 

Work is based on reality - on "objects interrupting light", as my mentor the great painter Henry Israel insists.  Portraits, landscapes and figure studies provide the rigour and discipline necessary to impregnate paintings and fuse all the elements. On top of this, the very act of painting is a magical business, an alchemy which continually throws up new possibilities and problems, stark and subtle.  Titles are often useful clues to the germ of a painting and I've added further comments about the genesis of many individual paintings which might be of interest.  These are only my thoughts, every viewer sees every painting differently.  As a so-called artist all one can do is hope that some thoughts coincide, that some experiences are common, that the quality of the piece is truly outstanding.

I use brushes only infrequently, mainly I favour a range of square-ended knives, with which I can do most of what I want.  Kept clean with a wipe of a rag and keeping the colours truer to what I seek.  When I ran an art shop in Cornwall, a refined very elderly chain-smoking gentleman came into the shop and asked if I could get him one of these knives, "Without it I'm dead," he said.  He turned out to be Rene Halkett, the last surviving member of the German Bauhaus and student of Paul Klee et al, and we became good friends.  I managed to get him the knife and also one for myself, which I've used ever since.  I know what he means by that rather dramatic statement.

Although canvas is lovely to paint on, and I do, a life devoted to ecology and recycling has encouraged me also to prey upon 'supports' discarded by our wasteful society, thus many paintings are of 'odd' (non-standard) dimensions.  This increases uniqueness, 'from support to surface', and makes them as individual as children.  Unfortunately it does not endear me to framers, so I prefer to frame my own work whenever possible (this has the added advantage of keeping prices down, see Contact/Links).

 

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