Everyone needs a holiday, in my case – having a change from tiny brushes and throttling my eyesight to bigger, mainly brushes; thick acrylic; big boards and an idiot grin on my face.
Inspired by a visit to a friend’s vineyard, the lurid autumn colours were a perfect excuse to go large and chuck paint around a bit. It’s very odd to be working on such a large scale and forcing myself to drop some detail – literally looking at the bigger picture.
It’s going to be a very trying time during the short period that the gallery is closed for a refit. It will require patience, a philosophical attitude and a broad understanding of the Spanish language and culture…. These are the things that frankly I do not possess. Added to which, my studio will be out of action and we have a family visit that might involve someone sleeping in the shower of our tiny home. I shall pause here for a well earned nervous breakdown.
One week later…..
-well that’s better. The gallery is much improved now and less cluttered and we also have music as a gentle aid to grasping and emptying wallets! I would have liked bullet proof glass as a protection from the enraged farmers but I can’t have everything. Now I have to yet again clear out and re-arrange my studio before knuckling down to some new painting projects - I’m getting my mojo back!
Still blocked on the painting front and for some reason I seem to have developed a mini obsession for petrol pumps of yesteryear. I made a couple of small models which I found pleasantly satisfying and then in one of my regular brain storms, I built a full size model that doubles as a wine bar. I wonder if there are any gallerias in Palma that specialise in petrol pumps....
I thought the time had come to produce a small book. It's a quality softback, A4 and limited to an edition of 300- All signed and numbered. It features a selection of my paintings of Mallorca and it is called “Portraits of an Island” Watch this space.....
Every once in a while I find myself creatively 'blocked' regarding my painting – despite all the beauty, age and character of this island. I feel unable to illustrate it or even be open to it's charms.
On these occasions I find myself working on models or sculptures (some of which I might show on this site, even though it aint painting!) which seem to use a different area of my brain. Unfortunately this leads to utter chaos in my studio – 3' deep piles of litter, half completed skulls or fake sports cars,mummified hands and mountains of bits 'n' pieces of junk to say nothing of more glue in my hair and lungfuls of aerosol paint. So, during another scorching summer here, I decided not only to clear it out but to completely rebuild it and now it all looks neat and squared away. Perhaps I'll paint in it soon....
These models though;- I built a truck that I imagined a deranged farmer might put together and made it out of paper, foam board and all sorts of junk and painted it in ninety shades of lovely rust. Then I moved on to a couple of 2 -seater coupes from maybe the 1940's – Again fictional and again sitting in a field of straw. The worrying thing is I don't know why!
On the gallery front – Every year here in Felanitx, we have a “Nitx del Art” (Art night) in which all the shops and galleries open late to show all their latest art. This went very well for us with a lot of interest though there were a few puzzled faces over my models.....
Very hot here at the moment and explosively hot in my studio, which serves to slow me down and concentrate on all the lovely details. Every street in this town seems to harbour a picturesque and satisfyingly eroded wall or door that tells a hundred stories.
However it’s all very well hanging around but there’s a whole island to explore. I particularly want to poke around some old farmyards to see what exciting inspiration I might glean but I’m a little reluctant to get my head blown off by an enraged farmer – what about my hat?
Busy, busy, busy, we’ve re-hung the gallery which is a vast improvement and added more plants outside to brighten it all up.
I’ve done some more modelling :- I’ve built a giant dead dragonfly with an engine in it; a fictional 1960’s bar door; an underwater scene and a human/robot hybrid head that is screaming………(You try living in my head.)
On the painting front I’ve let myself off the leash to sniff some artistic lampposts. so to speak. Big paintings using big brushes, acrylics and spray cans – Really good fun and quite liberating compared to my more meticulous work.
I also found an old barn that contained a fantastic range of junk and interesting cart and got my teeth into all the detail. I am pretty chuffed with the result.
My work is often mistaken for photography but that’s missing the point; - for me, the beauty is in the detail. The textures, patinas, stains, and rust that show the impermanence of man and the subtler powers of nature. All those details require a higher degree of realism than a few gestural daubs and spatters.
Whilst I do work from photographic reference it’s for technical veracity more than anything else.- my biggest source is my memory coupled with a lot of scrunched up sketches filed on the floor.
I’m still in awe of this wonderful island and I’ve not seen a tenth of it yet so exciting times ahead. We have started to advertise our presence in lovely old Felanitx as we thought it might be a good idea to tell people where we are.
Recently I’ve been painting Arum lilies in a more graphical style than is normal and I’m starting a large sculpture which might or might not come off.
So after hammering, filling, painting, re-wiring, refitting, junk shopping, studio sorting etc. – we are finally open. Phew! And despite a cold wind, excessive rain and even snow, I’ve been on a bit of a creative high. This wonderful island keeps feeding me inspiration and I’ve added a lot more paintings to the “Mallorca Series” and also some paper sculptures in box frames that I’m delighted with.
Our gallery has already attracted favourable comments which of course is great and we´re hoping word will spread of our whereabouts and my unique art.
On a sad note, I recently lost my loyal little dog, Puck – but he was old and we had so many good times together. No longer will he lie in his bed between my drawing board and his heater!
On days when the gallery is closed and the hot sun is finally here, I shall be out and about in my little van searching for more material – you know the stuff; - Old buildings eccentricities, oddities, the regular jaw dropping view and there´s so much about here. I wonder what I´ll do next and whether it will involve cement on the floor, paint in my hair or superglued fingers.! I hope you enjoy my labours and I will report back with news of more work in the fullness of time……..
Well Phew! What a year it has been - I've got wed to my lovely lady; we've emigrated to Mallorca and become "Legal Aliens" and I've been almost overwhelmed with inspiration for this beautiful island.
To date I have completed 17 paintings and as you will see they are a diverse collection from old doors and buildings to salt marshes and shoes!
It really is a stunning island away from the resorts and the countryside is green and rich with flowers and birds all year round in glorious sunshine. In May we move to a town house where I shall start work on my new gallery and studio and hopefully open to the public in July - Watch this space....!