Over recent years foreign travel has allowed me to explore new subject matter. In some cases this encouraged me to use paint in very different ways, particularly in the cityscapes. Although these themes are on going, it seemed important to me with this series of paintings to concentrate once again on my immediate surroundings in West Cornwall.
Last year some of my key canvases featured more abstract elements, these were almost geometric. Squares and precise hard edges encouraged the viewer to be much more aware of surface and the illusion created by paint. These forms appear almost to float vertically or provide an anchor point. This helped to bring a much more contemporary edge to the land and sea based paintings. Perhaps suggesting man made structures within the landscape or windows framing it. They also allow me to develop subtle colour variations reflecting atmospheric conditions and changing light.
It was the more formal developments I felt compelled to explore further. As the work progressed it soon became apparent these more considered structures also encouraged greater exuberance elsewhere. The more pronounced dynamic brushwork often suggesting elemental forces. This is illustrated in canvases such as High Force (mixed media on canvas). The dramatic atmosphere of these stormy subjects contrasts with luminous, gentle pieces. In works like Soaring (mixed media on canvas), new colour combinations have evolved suggesting the light filled vistas of the Cornish coastline. Here land fades away, we are high up, rocked by sea breezes.
Further landscape themes have been introduced. Morvah – Field Forms (mixed media on paper) reflects the Iron Age field patterns of the West Penwith peninsular. Lozenge shapes are stacked high with a mere suggestions of granite or horizon. In contrast Enigma (oil on canvas) at first glance is reminiscent of a city skyline but was in fact inspired by the mature trees lining the drive to my studio. Their form dissolved by early morning light, transposed onto canvas by complex layers of knifed and brushed oil paint. The light from the rising sun is formally held in place by two squares of misty grey.
This new series of paintings, Elements has allowed me to further explore the strong connection I feel with being outdoors. More importantly, the new direction the work is taking provides me with new ways invigorating the surface and capturing those sensations in paint.