Over the Edge
In my art, I have moved from a dedicated focus on figurative art towards an involvement in abstract expressionism which even I find surprising. I guess that as my practice has developed I have gained more confidence to explore ideas. At the moment I am working on a series of studies in tonal progression in which I attempt, through allusions to natural forms, to build a sense of depth and atmosphere.
I remain interested in exploring recurring themes in art. You could say I am doing the same old things, in my own way. Maybe this is why I paint in oils. I focus on themes that have been dealt with by different artists over centuries and search for my own sense of perspective. To me, put grandly, this feels like finding my place. There are some things – insoluble problems, if you like – that are common to people at all places and times. These fundamental issues appear repeatedly in art, perhaps because they are best appreciated at this level. In my work are paintings that explore the figurative tradition and the force of its influence.
Alongside this, I also like to paint people in downtime – in unposed, unthinking moments – placed in relation to their environment. For me it is part of same idea (here we are, this is it) of finding irreducible subjects suitable for figurative or abstract painting. I usually like to work in detail at a reasonably large scale and to concentrate on technique, the fall of light and shadow, the use of undercolour.
My recent work is created directly on the canvas and is led by my sense of light and dark, and my appreciation of colour. My figurative work is built up from sketches, photographs and paintings, and often test ideas and colours on paper or by using PhotoShop, before working on canvas. Once a painting is underway, it develops its own logic. Things occur that don’t fit with the grid or with the plan. For me, these ideas are the most important thing and are essential to the success of the work.