Sitting in a small seaside village on the west coast of France in 2008, I was trying to extract some inspiration and direction for a new body of Art. In previous years I had painted oil on canvas but felt they were stilted and lacking energy.
In the days prior to Granville, I had gone back to the Musee D’Orsay in Paris, to study the works of the Impressionist painters from a purely analytical and technical point of view, and not that of an ogling tourist. The names didn’t matter. At the end of an absorbing day I had a journal full of notes and studies. Satisfied I caught the train west.
I sat in my cosy hotel room overlooking the moody Atlantic harbour for four days, analysing what I had written and what it was about certain works that had appealed. Patterns emerged. Techniques revealed. Themes unfolded. A new body of ideas was germinating.
(And in the middle of it all I discovered Garouste, who inadvertently gave me permission.)
A week later I was back in my studio on the Sunshine Coast, raring to explore these ideas. I had expected to continue working in paint, but thought initially, I would capture the spontaneity and energy of my concepts rapidly, with charcoal and white pastel on brown paper, a handful of erasers to remove and cut back in with, and a clutch of my favourite 7B’s pencils for quick-fire mark making. Nothing fussy. Nothing precious. Hazy concepts loosely realised in my journal in France, soon found form and took on a life of their own. The new black and white mediums captured my ideas with the energy and fun that was lacking in those earlier paintings.
These pictures are stories from my immediate life. They are frozen moments that I choose to draw for no other reason than to delight myself, and give voice to what I believe are important truths in my life.
But also within these works, I at last feel that I have found a personal and unique visual style with which to tell my stories.