Jan Dagley

Based in United Kingdom
I am a design-led abstract artist with a BA and MA in Fine Art. I have exhibited widely and my work is in collection across Europe and Australasia. Certain poems, or even just particular lines in a poem, resonate with me in such a way that instinctively I want to express in a visual way how they make me feel or the imagery they have conjured up for me. Marvell’s line ‘a green thought in a green shade’ is so hauntingly expressive and beautiful that I think of it every time I use green. Yet it’s more green than green. It’s the epitome of green. It’s a continual challenge to try and capture the essence of that beautiful line visually. It always eludes which is why it remains important and a continual challenge. I’m certainly not an ‘en plein air’ painter but, having said that, my environment plays a key role when I’m painting. The environment may remind me of a poem. I can’t be on a heath without thinking of Seamus Heaney and ‘The Tollund Man’ or in a forest without hearing Frosts’ words that the ‘woods are lonely, dark and deep’. Maybe my background as a journalist means that I extract particular ‘sound bites’ from poems and these sound bites replay when I’m in environments that trigger recollection of them. A connection is then made between certain environments and certain poems. Often this connection is a remembered memory. I only ever tend to paint about a place once I have left it. I’m an abstract painter so it’s not the detail that’s important anyway. Since reading the poetry of Dylan Thomas and his ‘lamb white days’, ‘fire green as grass’ and ‘sky blue trades’, I’ve become very interested in synesthesia - and very envious of synesthetes. I’ve met a few and been amazed by the rich and unusual mental images and colours they see in response to the most mundane and , on the face of it, visually uninspiring words. What a wealth of inspiration they have naturally at their fingertips! Why on earth should Wednesday be emerald green or the number three be a purple zigzag? Kandinsky’s synesthetic response to music is more comprehensible but music is not one of the senses that stimulates me visually. Smell, however, is. And to develop this, I’ve recently studied perfumery and am now looking to explore how perfumes can act as a stimuli for painting. In the past I’ve always been rather reticent to provide poetic reference to go with my paintings as I’ve wanted to leave them open for the viewer to ‘read’ them without too many preconceived ideas. But smell is so subjective that I’m now thinking of providing the perfume that inspired the painting. I don’t want it to be seen as a gimmick because for me it’s a serious attempt at exploring complementary senses. I wonder if certain perfumes will then connect with certain poems? Perhaps I will get nearer to creating that ‘green thought in a green shade’. Certain poems, or even just particular lines in a poem, resonate with me in such a way that instinctively I want to express in a visual way how they make me feel or the imagery they have conjured up for me. Marvell’s line ‘a green thought in a green shade’ is so hauntingly expressive and beautiful that I think of it every time I use green. Yet it’s more green than green. It’s the epitome of green. It’s a continual challenge to try and capture the essence of that beautiful line visually. It always eludes which is why it remains important and a continual challenge. I’m certainly not an ‘en plein air’ painter but, having said that, my environment plays a key role when I’m painting. The environment may remind me of a poem. I can’t be on a heath without thinking of Seamus Heaney and ‘The Tollund Man’ or in a forest without hearing Frosts’ words that the ‘woods are lonely, dark and deep’. Maybe my background as a journalist means that I extract particular ‘sound bites’ from poems and these sound bites replay when I’m in environments that trigger recollection of them. A connection is then made between certain environments and certain poems. Often this connection is a remembered memory. I only ever tend to paint about a place once I have left it. I’m an abstract painter so it’s not the detail that’s important anyway. Since reading the poetry of Dylan Thomas and his ‘lamb white days’, ‘fire green as grass’ and ‘sky blue trades’, I’ve become very interested in synesthesia - and very envious of synesthetes. I’ve met a few and been amazed by the rich and unusual mental images and colours they see in response to the most mundane and , on the face of it, visually uninspiring words. What a wealth of inspiration they have naturally at their fingertips! Why on earth should Wednesday be emerald green or the number three be a purple zigzag? Kandinsky’s synesthetic response to music is more comprehensible but music is not one of the senses that stimulates me visually. Smell, however, is. And to develop this, I’ve recently studied perfumery and am now looking to explore how perfumes can act as a stimuli for painting. In the past I’ve always been rather reticent to provide poetic reference to go with my paintings as I’ve wanted to leave them open for the viewer to ‘read’ them without too many preconceived ideas. But smell is so subjective that I’m now thinking of providing the perfume that inspired the painting. I don’t want it to be seen as a gimmick because for me it’s a serious attempt at exploring complementary senses. I wonder if certain perfumes will then connect with certain poems? Perhaps I will get nearer to creating that ‘green thought in a green shade’.

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