The process of painting is fundamentally abstract – colour brushed onto surface.
So why are artists driven to abstraction? What is the motivation?
And does a painting gather energy – become real, gain a life force, by being seen by you?
Does a painting actually exist if no-one looks at it?
I have a theory that paintings gather energy over time by being looked at, until images, take Van Gogh’s sunflowers, become part of our consciousness. The dialogue that Vincent had with oil on canvas becomes a time and space that we share with him and part of our own visual language. The past act of painting becomes our present. It is simply there in our minds. Images to fall into. Spaces to contemplate and inhabit and mind about.
It is all a bit quantum and no science based arguments here … but I believe the act of looking at art has something very magical in it. Do paintings exist if no-one looks at them? (Sorrow for all the paintings locked in vaults and museum basements and not sharing their soul with people!)
In the abstraction of the act of painting, me the artist, sometimes stops clearly seeing the art work. This is why many of my paintings take years to finish. And I mean years. To work out the answer to the problem started. To find the end of the abstract story for the painting to become its own compete presence and have a ‘soul’ and talk to us in a way that I believe only real paintings can! A place for you to contemplate the abstract – that place that motivates me to show up and paint day after day, year after year. A kind of other world.
Computer generated art undoubtedly makes fantastic images, but the direct bodily relationship, that physical human transmission in the act of painting, I don’t really think is there. That undefinable presence.
This is why we still go to galleries and look at real art.
Standing in front of a painting we are able to talk directly to the artist.
Seeing through the artists eyes – seeing the surfaces, the images, the ideas.
What you are looking at is what the artist looked at, the very thing.
You can feel their soul, their life force, their physical energy.
Their hand and heart and thoughts transmitted through marks and colour, line and form onto canvas.
Their presence in time. That moment then, this moment now.
It is a gift. If you don’t live with a real painting, buy one and see what happens to you (I sell original oil paintings starting at £100 because I really want people to own real art. Small framed gems to contemplate) or go to galleries and be awed. Listen to the artist speak to you across time.
For me it is a two way passage – the mystery returns to me when you look at my art and talk to me about it.
By the time you are looking at it, the painting has its own life force that has nothing to do with me …
I was just part of the abstraction making it …
I showed up and used some of my time on planet earth doing it …
Now when you look at it – your dialogue, interpretation, desire or dislike for the work means I start to see it differently again.
You become part of it’s story too …
Is it talking to you?
Are you held, captivated as I was in the dialogue of paint and colour on canvas?
Is it finished?
Are you seeing things that I haven’t noticed?
Does what you feel about it mean you just have to own it?
If yes, the journey of the painting into the world begins …
How many years, centuries will it be out there?
How many people will look at it?
Will children grown up with these images and colours as part of their psyche?
How many hands will it pass through?
How many conversations will it provoke?
What will the painting witness?
This weekend a friend came to visit and the helpfulness of his eyes over my work was profound. His eyes just looking and honest feedback really helped me see my own work more clearly. I saw through his eyes. Paintings are meant to be a dialogue after all …
So PLEASE KNOW when YOU look at my work and have a response, you are adding energy to the painting.
I don’t need you to be nice and say it is good, JUST honestly look. The paintings have a life force of their own and your energy adds to it, our consciousness becomes shared.
A painting at its best opens a window onto another dimension that is really hard to describe in words …
A dimension that hopefully lasts over time and becomes part of the visual dimension of your life.
OK enough musings on art, back to the studio ….
I painted ‘Darwin’ about 15 years ago and kept him as I love his soulful eyes.
Might however put him into the next exhibition details below.
Exhibition starts this Friday …
In fact he may become the new poster boy as I sold the elephant on the flyer yesterday : )