Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Conflict is so pointless.....

More in the series examining the effects of conflict and war..... It is a juggling act to produce paintings that have something to say about difficult and painful social issues, but are still atractive enough to live with! Whilst really in your face, angst filled art is powerful and good, it is sometimes so disturbing that most people would not want to live with it, and this makes it inaccessable, thus diluting the effect. I choose to dilute the impact of the picture itself, make the art more accessible, and thus make it more likely to find its way into a home and continue to send its message. Time will tell if this is a wise choice, but it is a conscious one that seems to be working for me now.

Afghanistan Weeps
1000 x 1000 mm
oil/mixed media on canvas
I chose Ultramarine speckled with metallic colours to represent lapis lazuli, the rare semi precious mineral synonymous with Afghanistan. The flowers are a version of the poppy, which I often use to represent the fallen in war. The desert landscape weeps for the women and children of that repressive country.... what does the future hold for them?

Can we meet somewhere in the middle?

1200 x 1000 mm

Mixed media on canvas

Another one, partner to the one in the previous post, about healing divisions... and a need to look for common ground in order to seek a resolution to conflict......

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Every story has 2 sides

Every story has 2 sides

1100 x 900 mm
I tend to enjoy working in series, and often have several different threads running simultaneously. Thus, if you go into my studio at any time, it is quite possible to see 5 or 6 works in various stages of completion, and so different you wonder if the studio is inhabited by a group of artists! Large colourful abstracts vie for space with small city-scapes and historic buildings, landscapes are peacful and serene, or populated with desperate people, trees spring up all over the place and every now and then a quirky one appears that has no category at all, like the pink pig I did recently, called "did you say Bacon?"

One series I am very into now is the one that started out as "Africa weeps for her children." It has grown to examine issues relating to the plight of women and children in so many parts of africa, the so called "lost generation", the spectre of joblessness, and the big divide between 1st world/3rd worldrich/poor in the continent. A recurring theme is the plight of refugees, and those whose next meal depends on someone dropping it out of the sky.

Running parallel with this, and about to overlap, (ideas are running in my mind) is the anti war theme. It all started a couple of years back when I did a black and white painting, with one red poppy, called "lest we forget." It evolved with variations of the theme, until a series with block patterns emerged, symbolising both chess (a war game) and the checkered flag, symbolising winner takes all. Obviously the poppies were a reminder of the cost in human life.

The latest variant to emerge from this is a softer one, perhaps not so much war per se, but any conflict or dispute, and it reminds us that there is never only one side to any story, it may look cut and dried as the parties square off across a boundary, but there is seldom one side that is all totally good, and the other all totally bad.

Tuesday, 03 February 2009

3 new works

I started the year with a commissioned painting... which is good and bad. The good is obviously having a definite sale to start the year with. The negative is that, until that was complete, it kind of blocked any other work. I was feeling inspired to do more of my series examining the plight of many women and children in Africa, and the great 1st world/3rd world divide, but had to first stay in "historic building" mode for a while.
corner Buckingham and Way 900x600
Anyway the building is now signed, sealed delivered, and I am free to run along the Africa path again for a while. Two have emerged so far.........
Window of Opportunity... OK I studied, now what?
I saw this young man at a huge political rally I went to. One of the big themes of the day was job creation, honest and transparent leadership, jobs going to those who are qualified rather that cronies of other leaders etc. And my heart went out to him, because there are SOOO many youngsters who have studied hard, often under really trying conditions, and achieved results, but now they sit in desperation looking for jobs. And the sad reality is, with unemployment soaring, the chances are, it is not going to happen. What does he do? How does he live? How does he even BEGIN to plan a future?

Emerging from the shadows


A more hopeful painting, the rainbow nation emerges from the shadows, there is a way to go, but the spirit of the country is changing, we are proud, more and more united, and the future looks bright.