|magenta rhododendrum 92x76cm oil on canvas|
It’s interesting to look back and identify the original source to an idea or inspiration. But reflecting on my choice for the ‘Rococo’ theme in this year’s solo show; I can source this idea back to more than 30 years ago, when I was just starting my degree course in painting back in 1979. It was in my second year at Sheffield, first year in the painting department. Along the department’s corridor was hanging past pupils work. One particular painting intrigued me; it was a large full length canvas of a woman in a long intricate patterned dress, in dry brushwork in pastel colours very like a Klimt on reflection. It was the beautiful quality of the almost pointillist dry brush marks that reminded me of the same tactile qualities of pastel crayon on paper. The canvas was left bare which was buff coloured linen. I was at this time using a lot of pastel crayon myself with my studio work and life drawing, so this painting encouraged me try and paint like I was drawing. If only I had the knowledge then that I have now, to realise that drawing and painting are completely different processes, and one doesnt necessarily lead to the other. Small steps!!
|self portrait 30x20cm pastels 1979|
So 30 years on, I now find I have this opportunity to explore these pastel colours again with ‘rococo’.
I am obviously always drawn to strong, impactful colours, so any subdued or subtle colours will always be countered in my work by its strong opposing counterpart, to be eventually dominated by my direct compositional devices and upfront perspectives, so maybe the paintings in Rococo is the nearest I’ll get to a delicate palette. But it’s these little twists and turns that I explore within my personal painting style, that keep the process fresh and continually exciting for me, and give each new exhibition a slightly different feel-factor.