I believe I am finally on the path towards the end. The thesis has always been running furlongs ahead of the practice and I think it is virtually finished now. I fear that it should be the other way around. The writing should be informed by and about the practice. For me, it has been the reverse of this: I read, I write, I think, I paint. I love reading and writing. I love making art too but I have far more confidence in my reading and writing than I do in my art so that is perhaps why I have worked the ‘wrong’ way around for two years. The writing has come relatively easy to me. The art, not so. But I think I have now at least got a hook on which to hang something for people to see that I haven’t just been sitting on my bottom for two years.
My children are not with me this week, so to distract myself from the pain of separation and to make the most of the free time I have been spending every day in the studio working. It has been hard work and slow (more about slow later) but very rewarding. I don’t really want to be in the house at the moment so if this helps me get to a point when I am happy with my work as I come towards the end then that is the best case of ‘using the difficulty’ (to quote Michael Caine) I can think of right now. I will ‘use the difficulty’ and make art.
First of all, I layed out lots of wood and treated it with watery PVA, twice, each side. Then I painted each piece of wood, with black paint, three times, each side. This all took three days.
Then I put together the bits of wood, with powerful glue. That was hard. The wood kept toppling over and making me cry.
The still life is going to be a collection of 21st-century symbolic possessions or ideas in the form of objects.
I decided to start with one of the easiest ‘things’ to paint: a pile of blueberries.They are the ultimate superfood and symbolic of our current desperate desire to be shiny and healthy inside whilst battling the ever-growing obesity on the outside, and they represent the fight we have against the short-term satisfaction culture we live in. I love blueberries. They are succulent. They have a unique colour.
We don’t eat much that is blue – bubblegum icecream? And nothing else matches the colour of blueberries. Blueberries taste amazing. If they do me good, all the better. They go superbly well with a dollop of full-fat, luxurious vanilla ice-cream.
Is my painting recognisable as blueberries? No, not really. I am trying not to over think this. I am trying to let go of that old devil, the ego, and just paint. I am doing that at the moment: just painting. The biggest test is yet to come and that will come in October. What People Think.