On the 13th of April my exhibition Wanderlust: Layers of Past and Paint, opened at The Meffan, in Forfar. This was the result of several intense months work in the studio, with the family under strict instructions on when they could phone for a blether.
It is during this self imposed but solitary practice that the doubts start to rise These are normally two fold with the first related to thoughts of “This isn’t looking quite right ,” or, “this picture is beginning to fail and is becoming a ‘bonnie’ picture.” This often results in the afore mentioned painting being concealed in a layer of paint then taking a cloth and wiped back to reveal a focus or detail that I can work with. If that doesn’t work for me it will be rapidly painted over and started again.
When I am creating in the studio, I do it it for myself, but then the paintings have to ‘grow up’ and leave the studio. This is where the second phase of doubts develop and they can’t be so easily fixed/erased with a wipe of a cloth dipped in turps. These paintings are a result of my need to paint but are (fundamentally) also developed from my reading, thinking, seeing, feeling and wandering so (a) will the paintings manage to convey all that to the viewer? (b) have I left sufficient space in the painting for the viewer to construct their own connections to the narrative? It is only once the painting has left home seeking to tell its own story and is hanging in an exhibition space such as The Meffan that I can see if these doubts can be neutralised.
For me my paintings trigger two conversations. The first is between me and the work as it develops, sometimes this appears to be going well and then becomes more of a battle, before settling down. Much like a adolescent. Once ‘out there’ the second conversation, is based more on a hope that the picture will be able to connect to a viewer and create a dialogue with that person.
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