Saturday 29 October 2011

The Cowley Portrait

As a resident artist at the Ark T Centre in Cowley, Oxford I have been involved in the I Cowley project. The aim of the project was to reclaim a sense of community and identity for Cowley and to showcase its history. Other partners in the project were the Museum of Oxford, the Records Office, the Family History Society; it was managed by Fusion Arts and funded by Heritage Lottery Fund.

I wanted to create a community portrait made up of a series of photographed portraits of individuals. I asked people to bring an object dear to them to be photographed with and to describe it's relevance to them. This combination of object, sitter and their thoughts on that object helps to give more depth to the individual portrait, and so to the group portrait as a whole.

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Plain at Dawn

 I wanted to paint a picture that depicted an open space, as open and as large a space as possible. I wanted the space to be boundless and to extend from the grass under our feet to beyond the sky and into black space.  Although the sun is rising the field of view is so wide that there is still some night at the top of the picture. I also wanted the painting to have a ‘dawn of time’ element to it as it is about ancientness as well as vastness.  
I based this place loosely on my memories from visiting the Serengeti. 
Oil on canvas
4ft x 3ft

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Serengeti memory

Acrylic on canvas
3ft x 2ft6

I painted this for my son because he likes lions and zebras. From this picture I went on to paint the above which focuses more on the vastness of the plain and sky.

Tuesday 24 May 2011

This film shows how the painting developed. 

This painting was worked up from a life drawing, but I've portrayed my pregnant model as a Hindu goddess/earth mother sat meditating in gracious pose in a  jungle setting rich with vegetation and growth. It is about fecundity and connectedness. The painting was also a exercise in textures: velvety, padded leaves; curly hair; skin; moss and metal.

Saturday 9 April 2011

Deep Ocean

These 'Deep Ocean' paintings (this is one of three at the moment) are about states of mind while meditating.

Meditation involves the closing down of the senses and withdrawing from the outside world, you close your eyes, focus on your breathing and still the mind to achieve a state of relaxation and peace. I've used underwater scenes to convey the feeling of meditating, as when diving, your senses are also closed down to some extent; hearing is considerably reduced (your own breathing seems to be the loudest sound) and field of view and distance you can see is also reduced. The pressure on your body is alien and enforces the 'other worldliness' of diving.
So in meditation we try to leave worldliness behind, to have a still mind, to think no thoughts  and ultimately, one day, to reach enlightenment(!). Barriers to meditation, or simply being calm, are ones own ego and persistent thoughts and worries that insist on invading our heads.

Oil on canvas
4ft6 x 3ft

Thursday 17 March 2011

Stan in the Courgette Patch

The summer after Stan was born we grew courgettes in the garden. This painting was inspired by the furious growth and fecundity of these plants, the umbilical nature in which they grow and also references the painting 'Morning' by Philip Otto Runge.