artists paint from source materials, from plans, sketches, photographs,
or from the object itself. Think of Cézanne sitting before
Mont St Victoire. Even abstract painters - many approach their
art this way.
I have never been very much
interested in painting from source materials. I like to interact
directly and exclusively with the canvas, to see what can be found
in the ‘object-free’ zone between the artist and
This is a space where art
interacts as much with the mind, as with the eye. Surprising things
can be found here, things that can communicate powerfully and
things that can tell us a lot about what art is and how we appreciate
It is an approach to painting,
where our innate aesthetic sensibilities combine with the immense,
subterranean resources of our absorbed experience to shape things
and the end result always remains an open question. One must have
faith in one’s ability to develop an, at times, terrible
jumble of gestures into a coherent expression.
My explorations are documented through an evolving cycle from
figures, to landscapes, to abstraction. One of my beliefs is that
all these genres indeed all genres of art follow
a common underlying pattern.
The principles that govern whether an abstract painting succeeds
or fails are the same as those that govern whether landscape or
figurative paintings succeed or fail.
This pattern is perhaps most clearly discernable in abstraction
because here it presents itself in its purest form. When distracted
by the common objects of our everyday experience, such as figures
and landscapes, we fail to notice what it really is that makes
a painting appeal, or not appeal, and what drives its impact.
This is not to say that all genres of painting are the same, but
they are more deeply connected than we often realise. It is my
interest in these sorts of things that has led me to embrace,
over time, a diversity of genres, to explore their similarities
To see the painting process in action as a painting is created