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
20th May 2022
This is the only physical appearance our spaniel, Charlie, makes in the current series of paintings although he is behind the scenes in several. During lockdown I developed the habit of walking him round the block after dark. I called this activity ‘Night Patrol’, on account of my desire to check all was well and as it should be on our patch. I loved imagining lives unfolding behind windows dimly lit and covered by drawn curtains. Occasionally I struck lucky and glimpsed a full view of domestic activities, but the reality is generally far more mundane; actually it’s preferable and more enjoyable to invent one’s own anecdotes. In this painting my husband is walking Charlie.
Technically this scene posed a number of problems: the dominent light source from the street lamp and the shadow receding into darkness. Also, the acute angle from which the scene is viewed, forcing the perspective and the movement of the two participants through all the elements of the composition.
I aimed to create a well of light and security set below my view, a place to feel safe before venturing into the darkness beyond. I have noticed that Charlie will not venture beyond artificial light without one of us. Wanstead Flats viewed beyond the buildings, is a paradise scrub land for dogs during the day but can appear a wilder more threatening place at night. Better the safety of hard pavements lined with street lamps and buildings.
The building you see opposite our house used to be an Off-Licence until about 20 years ago, before our time in the street. A former neighbour told us it was never a thriving concern. I am not going to explain it’s full story; suffice it to say the property is still owned and inhabited by the same family.