“Evolution is an unfolding and we all have our part to play,” a message from my most recent painting.
I have reached a stage in my artistic process where a painting is no longer about simply representing an image on canvas. The evolutionary journey has been one of peeling back the layers of self and plumbing the depths of spirit. This process was essential in leading me to the point of matching emotional and spiritual development to technical skills, thus enabling me to get out of my own way and allow the paintings, to flow through me onto the external reality of the canvas.
Part of this journey has been realizing I have an inherent skill, re-framing perception, and that this is the underpinning frame work of all that I do. Even in early paintings this was at work, although I was unconscious of it at the time. Another important factor is my life’s purpose of unfolding creativity. Learning these two vital pieces of personal information has had a huge impact on the way I approach my whole creative life. I can no longer ignore it, run away from it or actively refute it — all of which have been constant companions in the last ten years.
Since I began painting seriously again in 2010, I am experiencing a profound awakening in my artistic development, becoming deeply aware of forces that move through me and appear on the canvas. This intuitive process often requires time spent just sitting in front of the work in a semi-meditative state, waiting for the knowledge of what to do next.
It truly is an unfolding. I cannot force this process, now an integral part of the way I work. Each painting flows and then plateaus. Every painting appears to have a resistance point. It’s a fine line between pushing against what is trying to emerge and allowing it to flow free with faith that the painting will end well.
My current working practice is an evolving story beginning through my camera lens, passing into the computer where the images are layered and manipulated and then flowing on to the canvas.
There is an underlying push to re-frame the viewers’ perception in some way and individual paintings simultaneously examine, several different layers of meaning.
The rugged treatment of the canvas is done to convey the idea of the fragility and disintegration
of all things with the passage of time. To push this idea further, I incorporate images symbolic of age and time passing: old metal work, graveyard railings, clocks, mountains and landscapes. We also see the canvas’s frayed edges and in some cases, the stretcher bars beneath — the skeleton, the framework beneath the physical painting. This is all part of the message. The canvas itself is almost like a skin; it is wrinkled and textured, contributing a unique surface upon which the painting lies. It is an entity in its own right.
The most exciting element of all to emerge from this is often found after the painting is completed. As I sit and look at it, I slowly become aware that the spirits of earth, air, water, fire, the ‘earth guardians’, have decided to show themselves in the painting. Sometimes I will enhance them, other times I leave them as they are and allow you to find them for yourselves. Even more fascinating is that other people will often find figures or animals that I haven’t seen myself. It seems that the paintings speak to people according to their own frame of reference.
My future work therefore is to keep telling the stories of the landscape and continue calling the earth guardians, thus raising our awareness of our intrinsic connection to all that is.