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A Loaded Question

...or why I do what I do.

 

I was recently asked why do I do what I do.  Why do I paint landscapes that are not representational but still powerfully evocative?

I rarely place objects or people in my landscapes which is in itself interesting, considering a large part of my adult life has been consumed with dealing with their emotional complexities and well being. I do find people fascinating and love to look at figurative paintings; however I have no desire to express life's joys and anxieties in my work. I am, though, interested in my surroundings and how the landscape around us is just as complex as a person. I want the viewer to stop for a moment, look at the painting, see beyond its apparent simplicity, and find something of themselves in it.

I live in a small city, full of the old traditions, yet still young, vibrant and constantly re-inventing itself. Yet I love to drive out of it, away from the noise and excitement that the city brings. I like to stop. Look. Breathe. Contemplate. Distill. I will then take photographs and sketch, which I then use as inspiration when I'm back in the studio. However it is primarily my memory that triggers my work. I can close my eyes and remember where I was, what the weather was like, the colours, the sounds and the smell of earth. I suppose that is why deserted locations are one of my favourite places to be visit, and why they feature in many of my paintings. They are wonderfully silent places which force my senses to absorb the surroundings, only to re-emerge on my canvas sometime later.

As an artist I am constantly pushing myself to experiment and take risks. Although there are moments when it all becomes too hard and you ask yourself the question 'Why do I do what I do' ? There is no complete answer to this question. I suppose the day that I feel I have answered it is the day I'll probably stop painting.

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