19 August 2023

On a hawk's wing

I wish I knew where I clipped this from, and from whom, but it certainly makes sense. I noticed that I too, bypass most galleries and almost exclusively go to museums when in cities.   

These three studies are from the same night a few weeks back and they seem to possess more tactile feelings than I've seen for a few months. I do understand that this series does rather cycle through different styles and ways of working over the long haul because either the weather prompts a shift, or because a new feeling comes over me that facilitates a change in my painting habits.

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 25 July 2023, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm 

They are presented in the order of execution. In the first two pictures there are two different feelings which reveal different ideas. The first one at top, has a flatter graphic feel which I always like when I am lucky enough to make it work. It has become my true North of directions, to a place where my inner compass desires to always point. If I thought I could make thick pancake paintings in colour I am sure I would try.

The second picture below is obviously quite different. There is a fuller use of brushwork in the construction of the plastic elements of the picture. What I mean is that contrary to the one above, it invites a more freely spontaneous approach to the problem of volume in an image but I like them both. 

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 25 July 2023, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm 

In the following small study there is another feeling altogether. It was the last one of the night and I had almost packed up everything when suddenly I saw this abstract configuration in my mind so I grabbed a small board to see what I could make of it. I didn't like it at the time but to be fair, dusk had fallen quickly so I had  to clean up in the dark and I could barely see it.

But today what I see is a more simple, 'classical' image, perhaps more traditionally inspired maybe as well. I had wanted to do it for the colour because the spot-like clouds floating over the pink area popped out with the  colour of a ripe pear. I have seen this often but have always had a great difficulty in trying capture it with an appropriate amount of wonder. It's so subtle, an ephemeral sensation like the hint of perfume as a woman passes at a cocktail party (as I have too often described it, sorry). But anyway, it is almost always this frail puff, or tiny pop of inspiration that can set off the pictorial sensation that gives a painter his goose bumps and will force him to return to the scene of the crime.

I also like this last one because it was started out with such confusion in my mind, it was just enough of a feeling that it allowed me to jump on a hawk's wing. I was hanging onto a thread of an idea but not with my usual sense of faith and yet like the fisherman, the painter always likes a bountiful outcome.  

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 25 July 2023, oil on canvas board, 25 X 20 cm 


  1. Love this last one! G

  2. To take your cocktail party perfume a bit further the first image has a clarity and clearness guests gathering at its start. More arrive, everyone sparkles, freshly shaven, neatly coiffed, impeccable and polite. The party gathers momentum, its clearly on a roll, the energy, the chatter and cocktail clumsiness exert riptides on consciousness pulled in every direction.
    The party's chroma is bursting. It's late, guests leave, some just disappear, while straglers slump in chairs. Calm and a somber emptiness embrace as hush.

    1. I love this! This is great, I hadn't seen them so thoroughly connected. Nice! (but who is the clever ghost?)