This came about from a sketch I did in 2009, loosely inspired by Hopper's
work. As for most of my figure work, the model was painted partly from life and also from reference photos I took after getting the pose and lighting just right. It is
a long process and in this case the painting took a few months to complete. It
is full of symbolism and typical of the many "apartment" pictures I have drawn
or painted since 2006, which often include interior/exterior context to contrast
the introspective nature of the sitter with the turmoil of the outside world.
The fish tank represents yet another world within the macrocosm. I was happy
with the classical look and atmosphere of this picture, and as my ongoing work
expands on use of a pointillist-style technique it will be interesting to see
which direction it takes in future.
picture, as usual, started with a sketch in one of my note books. I had wanted
to bring together all the carnival/sideshow inspired elements from my previous
pictures into one unified world. It was fun to paint. I grew up sustained
by a diet of movies and television of the 50's and 60's, and somehow, sometimes, I tend to
draw on these diverse influences (ie. Twilight Zone, Land of the Giants, Outer
Limits, etc) when I paint. This picture started with an outline of most of the
key structures, but I allowed enough flexibility to add and change different
elements like the figures, clown, shadows, lighting etc, until I finally felt it
was about right. Note the reappearance of the yellow clown who had first come out of nowhere when I painted A Night on the Town
(2002). He still haunts me! With these types of imaginative paintings, one has
to hope for a little voice inside that knows when to stop. Otherwise I might
still be painting and re-painting different parts of the picture, living an unspoken
and private narrative...
2007 I commenced a series of carnival/circus themed works and several
of these feature a man in mid-flight, either falling or climbing above
giant-sized marquees or big-tops. Disavowed is one from this series and was
memorable as a painting experience in that I was trying to convey a more spiritual
message. In the early stages after I had painted in the falling man, I was
trying to figure out what should go in the background, then without thinking and
with my head down, I just wiped off some white paint from a palette knife onto the
canvas above the tent. I looked up five minutes later and saw a perfectly formed
angel looking down at the man. I sat there stunned and I'm still left wondering
how it happened. Whether divine intervention or sheer coincidence, I left the
angel exactly as it first appeared and the title of the work just followed.
I worked during the day, but was always thinking about and jotting down visual ideas for
drawings and paintings that I produced at night and on weekends. For many years it was a frenetic balancing act. The painting
'Introspection' was one that I felt worked very well, and encapsulated glamour,
depth, ambiguity, sexiness and that perennial conflict between light and dark.
It sold quickly and was reproduced in a Psychology text book published by Oxford
University Press in 2013.
iconic scenario and one I was very intrigued to interpret in paint. The process
for this was typical of a lot of my work, but in this case a little more protracted than usual. It started with a sketch made in 1999,
which later was followed by a small painting or study in 2001, then three years
later was scaled up to the full version using a painterly textured approach
which worked well for this film noir-styled scene. This is one of a handful of
pictures not for sale (unless tempted by an offer I can't refuse..).
An abstract mix of metal
wings, propellor and fuselage, this drawing was
second version of a much
larger charcoal drawing completed in 2003. An abstracted combination of elements
that conveys a story or theme, rich in detail and beautiful in composition
(at least in my completely unbiased eyes!). The
dark element and heavy lines influenced partly by Giger and by Pollock. The timing of
this work was particularly significant as 2003
was the 100th anniversary of the first flight by the Wright brothers.
This is a personal favourite and the first of my images to be published
in a US art book and magazine.
A man falling to
his doom. Pushed from the precipice at the top of a lighthouse. And in the dark.
All favourite themes
for some reason not obvious even to myself. The deep blue
in the background, a mix of dark pthalo and cobalt blues, for the inky night
sky. The flaming red shirt of the falling man, drawing attention to him like a
falling star. The silhouette of a man (the
perhaps?) standing at the railing from where the other man fell. He is the only
witness we see, but was he murderer or innocent bystander? Ambiguous, it is part
of the mystery, and I certainly am not telling. In fact, as time rolls on I
become less certain of the events myself. Why is the church spire lit up,
symbolic of a man about to meet his maker? Influenced by the movie Vertigo without
partly because I suffer vertigo myself,
and a small homage to Hitchcock.