|A Lonesome Place, oil on wood 24.5cm x 30cm|
The weather smiled on me and finally gave up a bit of light for taking photographs, and so now I can smile a funny sort of smile at you by finally sharing a new painting. I should probably mention that what you see in the images below is a lot bigger than reality (which is why specks of dust look enormous!). And the colours are, as usual, not quite right either, though they're the best I could manage in my little setup.
This painting began when we lived in Paris. We only had use of a bathtub, not a shower, which meant that washing long hair was a bit tiresome, and it was impossible to successfully be in a hurry about getting ready to go out. It also meant that sometimes ideas might swim past while one was lying flat in the tub mulling things over, looking up through the water, and listening to the pianist upstairs practising (the sounds were louder underwater). Just over a year ago, in the summer before we moved to Scotland, I fished this idea out of the water. When we moved, I carried its physical beginnings in my hand-luggage, but at that time it was only an underpainting, a little further along than it is in this photo:
And then thin layers of paint, with thick layers of time in between them, were piled one on top of the other. Paint dries so much more slowly where we live now, especially as winter comes on.
As I settled in to work on the painting, I fell into a world that had its own laws of matter.
For my paintbrush it was a tangled maze through transparent and solid forms.
As I wound my way through it I slipped in little details like feathered hair, and clothes that might have been a bed sheet stolen from a washing line, or woven out of a night sky. I tried to work in clues quietly.
I wanted to build an outdoor place, with an architecture of leaves torn from old manuscripts and trees that grew in stained-glass window arches.
In this crowded thicket of a painting, I hoped your eyes might dance a bit.
And now, all of my smallest paint brushes are down to their last one or two bent hairs.
A good sort of problem to have, I suppose.