Abstract

Over the last few years, my work has become more about the paint and shape and colour, rather than about any figurative or literal concerns. More abstract if you will.

Initially at least, I never knew how to get there. I knew I could never throw some red paint at a canvas and then work with the resultant shapes. That would just seem empty and hollow.

I had been making paintings based on snapshots taken while on holiday. Always the same size. No people. I like making rules for myself. Takes away the awkward question of what to paint. Or at the very least reduces massively the search for an image. Frankly I don’t care about the image, I just want to paint.

Well I say I don’t care, but I must do really. I mean the South of France is supposed to be lovely but I was never there so it means nothing to me but I was in Italy so I have two paintings based on snapshots taken in Italy. Likewise Chicago might be a great city but I was never there. I was however in Florida and consequently have done four Florida paintings.

A Way In

When I started them, these travel paintings looked more or less like the photos upon which they were based. But over the last year, I would start as usual, basing the painting on the carefully chosen photograph but then quite quickly, often after only one or two colours, I would effectively throw the photograph away and just react to the painting in front of me. The snapshot had got me in and now I was just painting my shapes and colours. But I had needed the snapshot to start me off.

I had found my way to be abstract. Without being abstract.

Oil Painting of Stripes of Alizarin Crimson, Greens, Yellow and a Black and White
The Red Car, Oil on Panel, 19.7″ x 23.6″ (50 cm x 60 cm), 2020

The painting above may have ended up as a collection of nicely coloured stripes. But it will always be a painting of the road to the airport to me. The Red Car of the title has already gone (it was too fast. It’s down the road) and the red area in the painting itself is actually the sky. It just happens to look better painted alizarin crimson. (It’s a painting. There are no rules).

Abstract without being abstract. 

Paint. Paint and Colour and Shape.

Apparently I’m supposed to have some kind of blog going on, what e’er a blog might be in this instance. I don’t know, words I suppose, so that the SEO people can understand what this site is all about. It would appear that computers don’t read images too well and so need words to tell them.

Well it’s about paint of course. What else is there? Paint and colour and shape. That is all ye know and all ye need to know.

Always about the paint. 

Wasn’t always quite so obvious of course. I started off a few years ago when I returned to this painting lark doing portraits of strangers based on images taken from mugshots.com. Then I moved closer to home and painted portraits of family members.

But I am now of the opinion that the portraits were just me re-learning how to paint and so no longer count. 

And last year, I started drawing and painting domestic objects and now this year I’m making small-ish paintings based on family snapshots, the proviso being that none of the snapshots used can have a person in them. First couple sort of did, but that’s before I sorted out my rules.

20″ X 24″ wooden panel check. Family snapshot check. No people check. After that I don’t care. My few rules mean that I can come up with new things to paint easily enough without having to think too hard. I only want to paint. Like I said, Paint and Colour and Shape. Nothing else matters.

This of course could all be a load of bollox. There might be deep and profound reasons why I paint and draw domestic things and family snapshots. If there is, then be that as it may. Someone else can ponder such things.