The excitement for me as an artist lies not in exploring the unknown but in how I can effectively organise a visual arrangement that reflects the atmosphere and intensity of an environment, evoking a precise moment of the day under specific light and conditions. I hope you enjoy the work

Feature of the week  31/05/2020

Going Home

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Over this crazy period of recent months I have rather enjoyed the freedom of being released from social responsibility towards friends, acquaintances and the lack of professional commitments. Enthusiastically I have embraced the work of completing paintings that have been ‘standing in the wings’, waiting for the finishing thoughts to be finally resolved. Only as the weeks passed have I begun to miss the small rituals and expectations that form part and parcel of the fabric of daily life: close contact with acquaintances; gallery visits to drool or scowl over paintings, either way it doesn’t matter, the interaction provided food for thought and conversation with others. The I-Pad screen just doesn’t do it. One needs to absorb the physicality, the presence of works of art to fully appreciate their qualities and shortcomings. 

 

I wrote about the study for this painting Going Home in October 2018 and I have finally brought resolution to it during this period of lock down. I always find night scenes very challenging to paint. I have been very attracted to the twilight zone ever since I moved to London in 1972 and wandered the streets of the West End at night, marvelling at the brightly lit shop windows and the more subdued lighting of nightclubs, promising a nirvana both ethereal and unachievable.

 

When I revisited it, the image had acquired poignancy and a patina that it had lacked previously. It has gone through many changes since its inception not least of which that home has morphed primarily into a destination of safety and security. The lone, isolated figure walking through the darkness was no longer someone returning following a hard day at work... and this led me to reflect on my personal experience of the last couple of months, which is probably not unlike that of many artists of my generation. I have no family to worry about. My only relative, my mother-in-law, is being well protected and cared for by her second son who lives close by. 

 

I also have noticed the difficulty in starting any new work, although the ideas and concepts are mounting up. The future seems to be on hold as we wait for the next pronouncement from the Oracle of Delphi or should it be the statue of Ozymandias. An unhealthy tendency has developed to look back and reminisce on Facebook about my childhood, growing up in the back streets of a midlands town, exchanging memories with others my own age who I have not thought about in decades. 

 

No one we are close to has been affected thankfully. The arrival in November of Charlie, a lively Springer Spaniel puppy, has meant that that there has been plenty to distract us and to keep introspection at bay as we unite against ‘him’ and his latest misdemeanours or we gaze lovingly at the way he lies on his back, paws in air. All the same, how I long to run free again!