Prototype Image 1 is one of a series of prototype images for my current adventure with creative partner Sid Smith. We are building a graphic novel. Work started on this project in the autumn of 2007 and it is progressing well. The style of imagery has now more or less been agreed. The images are produced on paper using graphite, ink and pencil. Each image is no bigger than A4. Sid and I jointly research for image source materials and ideas. Clicking on this image enlarges it so you can see the texture and marks that help create the atmosphere of the scene. Our story is developing well and images are being produced regularly. There is a link on this blog if you want to see more images from the novel. The working title is 'A Scent of Cinnamon' - see link below in the right hand column.
In Between is a large oil painting on canvas, approximately six by four feet. It was painted from life after several studies and sittings. The figure is my father who at the time was recovering from serious heart problems and heart surgery. I wanted to create a sense of slipping and tension but also to suggest more than one way out of the of the situation. Details such as one foot on the floor whilst the other touches the table/map, that is tipped up almost parallel with the picture surface, are important to what I was trying to express. I also wanted to leave the scene fairly sparse but at the same time fill the space. Despite a seemingly clear concept in my mind when creating the picture, a lot of the story ('on and off stage' as it were) developed intuitively during the making. Though my Father was agreeable to being the subject he told me later that he found the completed picture too close for comfort in his situation.
Family Portrait is a large drawing on rough surface paper using pen, oil pastel, pen, ink, pencil, watercolour pencil. The shoes each represent one of our three children. Shoes are one of those items that quickly assume the identity of the wearer and as time passes the identity of the wearer becomes stronger and more vivid in their shoes. They harbour their own memories and sentiment. Many artists from Van Gogh to Emin recognise this process in their clothing and personal belongings. I too am fascinated by the way our seemingly inaminate posessions become as much a part of the person who owns them as say the way their hair changes over the years. I am currently interested in how other possesions with less maleable material may also acquire this relationship with their owner.
Rod and His Genie is an oil painting of an old friend done some years ago. It is based on observation enhanced by imagination - imagination that itself is based on my understanding of Rod. The sense of humour is very important in this picture reflecting Rod's own sense of humour. Rod is sitting in his bedsit in Bristol with one of his "women" in this case a genie that appears whenever Rod feels the need for company by simply switching on his kettle - then out of the mists of steam she appears, ever reliable. I never saw Rod with a girlfriend at that time and this was my way of helping him out at the time! There are several versions of this picture and preparatory sketches. As far as I know Rod still has this picture. He is happily married now with children so I guess the kettle is gathering dust in his loft! The picture is quite small, about 60x40cm.
Partners, graphite on yellowed paper, shows two personalities that decided to appear from somewhere in my memory and imagination. This drawing initially emerged out of thoughts about time and distance in relationships. As is often the way with my work, when I started letting the image come out it found its own story independent of my original thinking but its hugely interesting when that happens! In the last few years this is mostly how my creative process works when conceiving an image. I am also interested in how putting two "figures" together inside a frame invariably creates its own narrative different for everyone who looks at the image. This drawing is quite small measuring about 20x15cms but in my minds eye it is a large image. It was created in 2006.