Where? What? Where?

‘Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?

Gauguin
‘Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? By Paul Gauguin 1897


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……

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The Start

Part of how I begin a painting

The woods is a place I am mostly drawn to. I have a need sometimes to bring some parts of it back to the studio and include as part of my painting. Here is how I begin the painting. Lots of thought goes into the composition before I start. I try out various compositions in my sketchbook and then place the pieces of pine needles where I feel they should be for the image I have in my head. The image is not a solid one but more from my visual memory of different pieces mixed together, for brief example, of the landscape, woods or other parts I have been. I recall what stands out and inspires me most at the time. Sometimes that can be a mix of mood, atmosphere, colours, my personal connection to the surroundings or other smaller details of a place..

Images and video below are all taken on my phone while out on my hikes.










Working Small

For me working small can be more of a challenge than working larger.. The space in which I have to work with smaller canvases can feel restricted and cluster phobic. It’s only when the image and atmosphere I have in my memory from a space out in the open landscape comes into site and the narrative slowly begins to unfold, do I feel the small space on the canvas has become infinite and significant to me.   

Work In Progress # ‘stop point’ 

This is a work in progress.. I never know where a painting will go when I begin and sometimes I wonder more for the finished ones.. It’s hard to put a ‘stop point’ on a work at times. I think it’s more organic than that.. It’s interesting how the dialogue changes through creating a visual narrative and how the dialogue actually ends when the painting is somewhat finished. To me I think the mystery of art lays somewhere inbetween.  

 

Part of the jigsaw

‘Heather Roots Embrace’

I came across a lot of these on my trek up Wicklow mountains recently. Not unfamiliar, but just a small piece of the jigsaw building in my current work.