Why I paint? When I think about why I paint, l find it difficult to put it into words. The answer is complicated and complex. I know that as a painter l learn something new every day. I stand in front of the blank canvas, not knowing what is going to happen or how will the work develop? When I am painting, I feel like I am doing what I am here to do. It is easy to assume I already know how to do it; however, everyday painting teaches me that I have so much more to learn. I feel exhilarated when things go right. However, the other… Read More »Why I paint?
The inspirational work of Wilhelm Sasnal In 2005 at the Saatchi gallery, in the County Hall on London’s Southbank l saw Wilhelm Sasnal’s paintings for the first time in ‘The Triumph of Painting’ exhibition. I remember thinking how they hung in the air, waiting, in the moment, as all good paintings do. Their simplicity and subject matter at first gave little away. The swift beautiful and understated paintings appear to made quickly; prompting me to reflect how a poet laureate finds the right words without a hint of deliberation. Up to this point, I had clearly and naively mistaken time applying paint as a significant factor in a successful artwork.… Read More »The inspirational work of Wilhelm Sasnal
Life, death, art and a thousand years When I stepped forward to observed the flies buzzing around a rotting cow’s head in a rectangle glass vitrine, at the Gagosian Gallery in London in 2006, I clearly remember feeling blown away. However, when I looked closely at Damien Hirst’s artwork, ‘A Thousand Years’ expecting to see the flies freely feeding off the decomposing flesh and maggots coming out of the eggs in the carcass, it didn’t take long to notice that the flies where suffocatingly trapped in the glass box. They were imprisoned. Watching those flies has always stood out as a remarkable experience as I quickly realised that it… Read More »Life, death and a thousand years
“Everything is abstract, in my language of paint” I love going for walks, and I often take my camera with me. I sometimes feel like a child discovering nature. As I walk, I react to the spaces. I have come to realise that if I look at what I want to express long enough, I can see everything in shapes, forms, lines and edges. These forces leave marks in my mind and l discover aspects that I have never seen or described before. Everything becomes abstract in my language of paint. I take lots of photographs, they function like preparation sketches or reference material taking me back to that… Read More »Everything is abstract
Making a better painting than I did yesterday I stand in front of a blank canvas. All the thinking and preparation is done. Inspiration from direct experience and reference material is in my head. New ideas are no good to me now, my overthinking mind needs to stop. I have a conviction; to make a painting. I want to make a better painting than I did yesterday. However, as I stand there, I realise the act of painting is a mystery. Without hesitation, all I can do is pick up a brush and focus on the first mark. After that, I am painting. I like to add a coloured… Read More »Making a better painting than I did yesterday
‘Outliers, The Story of Success’ by Malcolm Gladwell – book review As an artist, the idea of wanting to make an impressive declaration through your work, and reaching for the top is understandable; this happens in almost any field, not just in art. Quite often I look at other artists and the people who have gone before me and think, what can I learn from them and also what am I looking for? In his book ‘Outliers, The Story of Success,’ Malcolm Gladwell believes that we often focus on people’s personalities and intelligence. “Our hero was born in modest circumstances,” Gladwell writes, “and by virtue of his own grit and… Read More »Outliers – Book review
Getting started in the studio If you talk to people who procrastinate when in the studio they will often say… “First I have to open the door and tidy up the mess from last time. All the equipment needs tidying or putting in some sort of order, to make my space workable. In the winter I need to turn on the heater to warm the room up. Then I have to change my clothes, so I don’t get paint on them. Next, I have to think about my mood and the music that goes with it. I often feel the need for a tea or a coffee before I get… Read More »Getting started in the studio
Sigmar Polke tears everything down that came before and starts again It is a common misunderstanding to think that creativity is an optimistic response to life and its single aim is to reflect the beauty around us. However, if you born in Germany in 1941 in the middle of the Second World War, would you want to paint an attractive still life with flowers? Everything is a function of where you think you belong, and everything comes back to your identity. If you had an urge to create an artistic response while growing up on malevolent soil in a world full of angst, would you use the potatoes of your youth? It… Read More »The Art of Sigmar Polke – Review
Following your passion, looking for your creative secret On a wet cold street corner in Chicago, in the worst part of town, you’re experiencing the thrill of observing life with your camera. There is a homeless person on the sidewalk, who looks tired and hungry. As you walk towards him, he looks directly at you, reaffirming life. Looking in his eyes you see through the grime. You recognise his spirit and hope for something more worthy. Your pulse races, you’re witnessing suffering you can hardly imagine. Your hand moves to the shutter. However, you realise that to make the picture work, you need to step further into his personal space.… Read More »What is your creative secret?
Playing to the Gallery by Grayson Perry Have you ever stepped into a contemporary art gallery and felt angry and confused? How do you tell if something is good or bad? It can be puzzling trying to form an opinion about contemporary art. Who can answer this question for us? Grayson Perry, the transvestite pottery and Turner Prize winner, takes on this brave task in his book ‘Playing to the Gallery’. In it, Perry guides us on a whistle-stop tour of dissecting contemporary art as he sets out the tools to allow us to an understanding of modern societies’ relationship with art. His book is based on a… Read More »Playing to the Gallery – book review