It may not be enormous but what this original small blue art work loses in size it more than makes up for in drama.
In some ways I think that’s down to the extraordinary levels of detail that are created within it. In fact my camera lens isn’t capable of getting close enough in to capture the finest of lines and strokes. Painting this has been a bit of a nightmare actually as it started out as something planned with a more minimal feel.
I developed a problem with my upstairs floor in the new paint studio. Three weeks after painstakingly laying it I discovered it had settled by 2mm at one end. That may not sound much but it was enough to cause a very slight slope on my painting surface; the net result being that the paints literally fell off the canvas as gravity took over. That’s all it took to ruin the seven canvases I was working on at the time. One of them however, began to move in a very mysterious way.
I spent a good two hours crouched over it, turning this way then that, in an attempt to stem the flow of liquid; all the paint wanted to do was run down the slope. I knew I had to take some action. So out came the driers, the hardeners and a very large oscillating fan. For the next 90 minutes I sprayed, turned and literally blew-dry the surface until it slowed down.
And so I began, once I’d contained the flows, to in-fill with paint once more; carefully squeezing the end of each syringe one colour and one application at a time (yes I use syringes and needles and that’s the secret to getting such intense levels of detail). There was no way I could have stopped so the painting had to be born from a single, grueling session on my hand sand knees.
And what a session. Seven hours from start to finish. Does that sound quick? I think my pain-ridden joints would disagree.
I get asked (a lot) how long paintings take me to create. Sometimes it’s slow, sometimes over many sessions and then, occasionally, it’s in one. They are never easy and are not without complications but persistence and reacting in the face of adversity can sometimes take you in a direction you never expected. I always had a game plan but the sloping floor threw me a curved ball. I refused to give in and lose yet another canvas. That’s where West Coast Groove was born.
And so to the finished painting. It’s very glossy and very deep. The rich selection of blue tones lies in total contrast to the mild aquas and turquoise – all of which get peppered with that fiery orange and hints of melon yellow. It is influenced by the sea, no question about that – as I write this I am contemplating a move to an ocean front property far away from the distractions of daily life. Maybe some of my hopes and aspirations (along with my relentless defiance to accept defeat) are wrapped up in this painting too.