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Recently I started painting again, the first major effort in this medium for a decade. Up until now I’ve concentrated on my pencil work, which given my nomadic nature has proved appropriate, purely because traveling with paints and sheets of prepared hardboard is not conjunctive  to traveling about India etc. And I have to say over the last decade or so, on and off from nursing, my style and ability to leap into creative areas I hadn’t attempted before, has come on more than I could have ever imagined.

But paint!?

(pause while I roll a cigarette)

You know fuck it!

I was going to go into tedious waffle about my aims and urges, but you know, all I want to do it paint.

I used to construct things, and refine and define, as I used to say, not photo realistically cos I don’t stray in the oft pompous realm of simply showing off my technical ability like Dali, but there was always a plan, something to focus on. But of late, since once more dipping my toe in the turbulence ocean of colour again, I have found that all I want to do it the act of painting. Sod the detail at first, that can come later once the primal stuff is there in front of me. I just want to be doing it. Its a heady feeling of just letting the brush and its resulting shapes and hues lead me on. I get an idea and just want to spread it all over the board, whether there’s detail or not. As I say,  the detail can come if I call for it, but for now, its the idea and the action.

It also supports my essential core belief about art.

We do not create art.

We are the medium, not the message.

Back in my youth, on my first trip out of the country, in the hills of Eastern Zimbabwe I had got into rock carving, which in Zimbabwe is still a thing of rare beauty. I was traveling and wanted to buy some stone, and stopped at a roadside carving site. Off the the side, there was a group of about three or four locals, squatting in the dirt around a lump of half carved rock. I joined them and watched for a moment as they turned it, hitting it occasionally with a chisel, the act seeming to be almost a joint effort and appearing chaotic in a calm type of way. I eventually asked how they decided what the carving was going to be. They simply told me that they didn’t decide anything. The image or shape was in the stone, all they did was let it out. It was there, hidden, waiting to be freed by the blows of the chisel, the rub of sand paper and the polish of cheap floor wax.

That hit me profoundly. Art is out there, it exists everywhere and within everything and as an artist, as a human being, we are the way it is revealed. It has life already, but needs us to be seen and revealed. We are the way it can become.

And to be honest, since that revelation, the art that I have forced into life, has always left me with a spiritually bitter taste in my heart. Its as if I created things that shouldn’t be, or weren’t ready to be created. But the things that I have just let shaped themselves, starting with my moment of inspiration, have always been my favourites. Its as if that moment of inspiration is a call from somewhere in the aether from something ready to be born, with me as its creative midwife. And through me, they come. Screaming or happily gurgling into life. I stand by the statement that I don’t create things. They already exist. I just let them out, for good or ill, such is the nature of art and creativity. If you force something into being, you are delivering an abortion. If you surrender to that little voice saying, ‘hi, can you hear me. I’m ready…’ then you’re ready to play your part in bringing something into reality that never existed before, something unique and precious. Something maybe that only you could bring out. They are out there waiting for you to hear them.

It feels pure.

I watched a Cranberries video tonight, that had a cross in it, a Crucifixion cross I mean, and I recall thinking, ‘that’s a bloody nice cross!’ I have been recently painting a crucifixion scene with a nurse instead of Christ, with two plague doctors at the base, dismissing the figures suffering. But this simple image made me think of something else, the creative standing on the shoulders of giants, so to speak. I visualized a cross, its ropes recently untied and hanging, in almost the foreground, a fiery almost magma like sky beyond spitefully jagged mountains in the background, and the figure of Christ standing at its base, his back to the viewer, tossing aside the crown of thorns. And the title of the piece was simply…’Fuck em!’

I started at about 9pm, and Im off to sleep now at 1am. But I feel an almost palpable sense of excitement about throwing more paint onto the board tomorrow. I have felt this before, but not in such a vivid way. It was all so clinical in the past. Ok, I produced some nice stuff, but there was nothing visceral about it. Now I feel it.

It feels good.

I will use this post to update its progress. Its delivery you might say.


The other night, after some soul searching I realised that the above picture was…well….crap!   So it was thrown to the corner of the room and I started from stratch, resulting in this after 2 days work, which I will now focus with cos it has infinately more promise that the previous one.


16th March…..ever onward….Ive been playing with skin tones and the visible signs of injury and abuse. The photo above is a poor one for which I apologise but it gives the idea of where I am at present. I’ve been paintings and repainting, mixed with a little sanding for over a week, and the figure I think is about half done. It could change, but who knows. I have an idea of something akin to the classical art of the old masters, something lacking too much detail but that leaves the mind to fill in the image, but something poignant, thoughtful in earthy tones. If it works, a classical almost gothic frame will surround it.

The final framed pics are as follows



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