Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The death of innocence

Mixed media on hardboard 24" x 20"

There is a bank of trees on the rise of a hillside not far from my house. I have tried many times to paint them but this painting arose purely out of my subconscious. I believe we store memories and images which the process of pure painting - so called abstract painting - brings into evidence without us even trying. 

Blame Kafka

Mixed media on hardboard 24" x 24"

We spoke but they did not listen

Mixed media on hardboard 24" x 24"

Tabular II

Mixed media on hardboard 24" x 24"

Tabular I

Mixed media on hardboard 28" x 24"

Monday, April 25, 2016

Seeking the circle

Mixed media on hardboard 24" x 24"

"You do not need to leave your room.  Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary.  The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet."

Franz Kafka

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Dwelling: Indian rug

Mixed media on canvas 36" x 36"

This one was a divil to photograph. The dark ones always pose challenges. It's as if they are seeking light themselves and capture it at any opportunity. So although this is as big a painting as the previous one I am keeping the digital image small until I get a better pic.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Dwelling: lace curtains

Mixed media on canvas 36" x 36"

This painting and the one below are my two most recent pieces. They were both done "spontaneously".  I wanted really hard to do them both. There was no ulterior motive - just a following of an honest artistic urge.  I wonder sometimes if other artists have the desire to do this, to express themselves in different ways, whether they feel they do not wish to, or cannot (not the same thing) and for what reason? I no longer make apologies for this. It is all marks on a surface, all an attempt to begin to understand the complexity of this world in which we are submerged.

Hammershoi's Ida

Acrylic on hardboard 16" x 16"

The Danish artist Hammershoi remains one of my most favourite painters. His figures struggle quietly within tidy, empty squared off rooms lit by a cool northern light.  I wanted to know how he felt painting so I decided to partially copy a painting he did of himself and his wife Ida. What happened was that in my piece Ida became someone else - her sister or an older version - or a person from out of my past imagination, I don't know. I could not be Hammershoi, only myself. The urge comes sometimes to paint a portrait.  Did you ever see the paintings of the 17th  century Spanish artist, Zubaron where cool faces emerge out of darkness and are at risk all the time of falling back into it? 

Monday, April 11, 2016


Mixed media on wood panel 24" x 24"

The central grey and white motif is made with plaster which has been allowed to set and then painted and carved into to reveal the original whiteness. The orangey parts of the work are finely ground, brown, ballast poured on to wet paint.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Land form IV

Mixed media on canvas 36" x 36"

These are all "re-works" on top of existing, dried,  textured paintings, the texture being fine ground pumice, ballast, sand, PVA and maybe other stuff. My influences over the past weeks have been the "material" artists of the mid twentieth century, in particular Antoni Tapies and Alberto Burri, as well as the current paintings of Hughie O'Donoghue whose big shapes and subtle contrasts and edges capture our imagination and lead us in to forming our own meaning from what we are seeing. 

Land form III

Mixed media on hardboard 24" x 20"

Monday, February 22, 2016


Mixed media on hardboard 16" x 16"

It's wonderful to work on a hard board because the incising work is done at full pressure without fear of going through the support as is the case with canvas.  Ben Nicolson, the mid twentieth century English painter used incising a lot but I always think his work lacked the spontaneity and fluidity of his wife Barbara Hepworth.  Nevertheless there is a lot to learn from him. 
When you see this painting for real the incised marks are almost golden in places. This is simply the underlying primitive board revealed. I like the way that in itself can provide "colour". 


Mixed media on hardboard 16" x 16"

Monday, February 15, 2016


Mixed media on canvas 36" x 28"

In the actual painting the left hand side is a slightly creamier white and the right side retains an almost bluey cast.  This is not coming across here as much as I would like and Photoshop refuses to cooperate but the general idea of the painting is conveyed I think. I arrived at this simplicity through much trial and error. Sometimes as Tapies says a painting is just a "sigh..."