‘Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?
In the last couple of years, I often found myself referring back to this painting.. Gauguin is a painter I took a real interest in when I decided to go back and study the history of art and design in UL (certificate) a few years ago.. When I was in art college, (LSAD, 1993-96), I had no clue how to write essays, even yet dissertations. I had no clue even, at the time, what artist interested me being 19 or did I even begin to explore ways and possibilities of expressing myself outside the school curriculum.. Art. It was a new big world.. Had I been less young and inexperienced in making art and finding myself IN art and living, my dissertation would have probably been a masterpiece. Lol..or maybe not..? The title of this painting and the artist behind it is something and someone that often comes to mind..in recent years.. where, what, where.. who what when.. does any of it matter? Only what matters to you..when it matters and why it matters.. yes I think a lot..it makes me see a lot.. be happy, we are all dying but we are also living.. the seldom few……
A closer look at painting, ‘Growth’ 100cm x 100cm, Oil, Mixed Media on Canvas
I use beeswax in a lot of my paintings and here I mixed it into a thick opacity with the oils. Also on the surface of this painting I incorporated the found little pieces of the forest floor including pine needles, twigs and some sand. The colours and thickness of foliage from a Summer turning into Autumn is probably my favorite time of year. These great long evenings allow me to spend more time getting lost, finding new trails and exploring new possibilities of how I can bring these experiences back to the studio.
This is a mask I was given as a gift almost 9 years ago. My good friend Ger who gave it to me said she would love to see what I could do with it and paint something of my own on it. I really loved it as it was, just a blank white smooth surface. It took about 9 years for me to finally get the urge to paint something on it and turn it into something with narrative. I wanted to paint a kind of self portrait for a while and so I thought this would best represent what I wanted to do.
When I finished it, I decided to wear it and see how it would photograph. It felt like a ‘becoming of’. Like the land we came from and back to the land we go.
For the title of the piece itself ‘Privilege Of Existence’ I had in mind my belief of how fickle and fragile our own existence is. The chance of ‘becoming’ is like a lotto in ways. Since childhood I always think of my own very existence and how being adopted makes me feel about that. Time itself is a place we survive for only an atom-size fraction, until the next cycle of generations rotate. It raises questions to me about how significant we really are, in nature and among the smallest of stars to the largest ones that we know of yet.
I painted this piece in oils and I used pieces of pine needles I found on the Djouce woods bed where I incorporated onto the mask surface before applying multiple layers of oils. I approach most of my painting in this way. I like to keep pieces I find along the way when I am out hiking and reviving then back into a kind of living state, in art and forever preserved.
Today’s location of inspiration. Taken on my iPhone, here a few clips of what excites me today. They will most likely become part of some of my next pieces. The atmosphere was stark and warm and the only sounds were of nature itself.
This is something I came across recently on a walk out in the Djouce woods nearby. Another image to fuel my visual memory. What appealed to me here was the forest edge in the background and the tree stumps leading to it. It brought a profound sense of self awareness and the reminder that we walk only on borrowed territory. It’s hard to put such experiences into words but I hope I’ve explained a little more of where my paintings come from.
(Photo was taken on my iPhone) I must will develop the film after the last 3 shots are found..