of an Egg Tempera Painter
What makes an artist choose, as their major medium of expression, a painting technique that seems to have originated in medieval times or earlier, which has been superseded first by oils and then by acrylic paint?
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‘Harvesters’ tells a French story. A group of small farmers, which have some wheat land of their own, go there to harvest it. A mother changes into her work clothes behind the car. The daughter stacks up the bails on the trailer. An elder man waits in his tractor while the younger operates their old combine harvester to offload the grain. This is I found when going there to look for agri-business.
There are many kinds of waves in landscapes; some of them
in rock form can take eons to perform. My now more figurative abstracts use
gestures to parallel the kinetics seen in nature.
In painting smaller the richness of egg tempera reveals itself. Gesso is the only real substrata for this jewel of a medium, as it acts as a reflective base for the transparency and the brilliance of its colour. When handled correctly, egg tempera paintings have a fresh and spontaneous feel.
One day some animals got into the studio and
seemed to have had a fight. The current painting was violently thrown down
and irretrievably smashed. Salvaging a piece of it, I stuck it to another
prepared gesso on a stretcher, producing a relief, which was very pleasing.
This accident was the start of a new direction, which is still developing.
I had already started to explore shaped, gesso panels that burst out of the
conscripts of the rectangle - laterally. But now want to also push upwards
We painters have a thing about pristine flatness but I’m breaking the mould and taking on the idea of painting on uneven. What happens when paint travels over relief is fascinating; as it must have been to the cave painters of long ago.
The countryside is my first love but it has changed profoundly since I was that boy and some of those haunts have disappeared, like our Chiltern Down where we played amongst the wild rose and where the Common Blue was a common butterfly.
In my present attitude
to landscape there is a dichotomy. I try to be a realist when searching for
subject matter, so while looking for inspiring examples of rural beauty, have
to come to terms with the despoliation of it too.
In a painting based on the theme of forestry, for instance, a large agrarian pine plantation is depicted around the little town. Indigenously this would have been a deciduous forest. For me coniferous forests like these are not things likable but since they are there, feel they cannot be ignored and somehow believe that painting them is relevant.
of my paintings tell stories, Africa being a good example, I went looking
for rainforests and found them but it was the people who were so impressive.
full of humanity and one cannot help but respond.