Of caves and cocoons

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The Cave. I painted this as one of two pieces for the St Wilfrid’s fundraising exhibition at the Birley Centre and was delighted to see a red dot being stuck on its label as I arrived at the private view – ‘the first painting sold at the show’ is my proud claim to fame this month as I’m exhibiting alongside some fantastic artists.

The painting evolved. I started work on this whilst stewarding at Gallery North a few weeks back, deciding to get away from the recent spate of black backgrounds, I added bright red and purple to the canvas….then mixed in some black, In the gallery at the moment are two of my works titled ‘Fractured’ which were inspired by photos I took of broken iced puddles and I started this piece on the same ‘lines’ with ink and a rigger brush, criss-crossing random ‘cracks’ onto the canvas. Each of the negative spaces then cried out for a bit of shading so they began to take on a rocky texture. It still looked a bit too dark so out came the cadmium orange and suddenly Dante’s Inferno was in my head. If in doubt, try a fish. I did, it worked. The mood was lightened, the goldfish became the gold in an underground cavern with light, bright possibilities at its core. Read into that what you will.

After stewarding today at the Birley centre, and meeting interesting people including the artist Paul Liddiard, I popped into the Towner to see the installation by Chiharu Shiota. I’m generally not a fan of installations – a big generalisation but most of those I have visited have not really inspired me.. they’ve sometimes intrigued me as to HOW they’ve been put together and on occasions I thought yes, I’d like to have a go at that, in particular some multi coloured wool-wrapped trees in the Bath Gallery a few years back. I like the one at the Towner today, a woven labyrinth, but just the one quick visit was enough for me. Perhaps it’s the mood I’m in today but it quickly became oppressive. The room is filled with  a web of black wool woven into a cocoon around doorways – I love walking in deep, dark woodlands and this was reminiscent of that but the electric lightbulbs, whilst creating fascinating halos of light in the ‘web’, reinforced the darkness and made it quite a depressing place. As my focus right now is on painting ‘happiness’ I don’t want any more black influences at the moment! I’ve come home to pick up my BRIGHTEST colours and start painting.

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