Remembering the desert at close to midnight, mainly oil paint on linen, some spray paint, gold and silver leaf and varnish (2017), Woolwich, London
This landscape was influenced by some time spent Ourzazate in Morocco in 2013 and I painted the memory throughout 2017. The piece went through many phases, with the ground shifting and changing through green meadows to seas - somehow representing the variety of places we can star gaze from. Eventually I scraped away the paint from the earth element and made the canvas smooth to start anew the following day. On return I found the mood of the painting now encompassed that of the memory and felt great relief, with a touch of ecstasy, when I realised that the painting was complete.
I hope that viewers of this work can connect to the place and emotion on their own terms. We all live under the same sky, suffer joys, losses, breathe the same air and I found this place and the creation of this painting synonymous with many other landscapes, times and places. I let it hang in the studio for some months after creating it, people would come to sit and talk with me about their lives and the painting made a comfortable background for all of them. Something about the working through having reached a resolution supported this, with marks from the process remaining prominent and unhidden being essential to the resulting calm. I hope it will bring out a sense of acceptance, contemplation and peace to viewers, though equally valid would be to explore the use of material, with three dimensional smears of paint appearing to be in the background and scratches that go right through to the base layer appearing to be in the foreground.
Traditional painting styles have been drawn from - as have contemporary methods. The linen was prepared with rabbit skin glue and painted with hand mixed oils, along with gold and silver leaf, spray paints, varnish, inks and action painting; the mixing and application of paint was at times very playful, videoed and shared on social media.
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