A few years ago, when I lived in Wales, in a period of less work but more creative exploration, I started playing with adding words to photos that had some resonance for me. This evening I rediscovered a few, inspired to search by a friend’s recent works that combine various media and are being shown online. One of her recent photos reminded me of one that I took at a studio in an old barn where I used to paint.
Here are a couple, to give you the idea. I may put up some more soon, from another project. But now it’s late and I have to be up early. At present, I have more work and less energy and time for creative exploration, that’s ok, I’ve chosen this.
Here is a preview of a new landscape painting, inspired by recent experiences in Scotland as dramatic rain clouds rolled in over Creag Meagaidh , as well as other things seen in the Cairngorms, earlier in the year. Unusually, for me, it combines elements from several experiences. This and other acrylic works are on the updated Acrylic paintings page.
Into an old, new land – acrylic on canvas 76x51cm 2016
The inspiration for this painting ‘boiled up’ for me in the wake of the UK’s referendum on EU membership, added to what transpired to be a fruitless journey at short notice. I felt the result in a very personal way that surprised me; I spoke to others who said the same. As the train rolled south on the day of the result, I felt I was returning to a land that was less home, more foreign, to me now. The heaviness of the greys in the clouds, which I find beautiful and fascinating to watch, along with the strong contrasts and feeling of compression of the mountains, the gaps of light offering possible escape routes from the crushing presence of the rain-bearing masses.. all these had a resonance for me in the present situation.
I may add some finishing work to this, though not a great deal, it is essentially ‘done’. I feel the sense of danger but also opportunity that changes bring; it is not an easy time.
Today I’ve been accompanying a visit by art students from the school to London and the Tate Modern. The long coach journey has limited our time there but they have still had an all-too-rare opportunity to see some influential and thought-provoking works. I will be interested to see, from the sidelines, what fresh ideas they bring into their work after this.
They are good, motivated and pleasant students and my role as ‘responsible (male) adult’ has been easy so far. Free of the burdens of teaching, I had the luxury of being able to make notes and sketches of my own and to use some reflection time to gain some ideas and even a few insights.
I like the Tate Modern, from its wonderful cathedral-like turbine hall to its range of exhibits and the wide range of :ordinary’ people visiting.
I found myself drawn to Mark Rothko’s deeply meditative ‘seagram murals. Ideas arose for me about colour and the responses that arise from immersing oneself in the experience of it. When I sit in front of these colossal canvases, I feel a deep calm that I encounter also in good meditation sessions. I also have a distinct feeling of a low, continuous, note, just on the edge of hearing. I ask myself why I have still not made my own attempt to work woth really bold colours, which I do use as base layers for my landscapes.
One of Joan Miró’s paintings also evoked something of this feeling for me, the deep blue field drawing me to stand as close as I was allowed and simply looking, feeling no need to imterpret or even ask questions, it was sufficient to spend time in the experience of the colour. Calm, nearly soporific, a feeling of deep space…. Was this the dream-like association referred to in the exhibition text?
Ideas sit, captured in the pages of my sketchbook and circulating in my mind.