Where did the inspiration come from for this piece?
I usually derive inspiration from various sources, and they combine subconsciously on the canvas – dreams, snippets of conversations, the landscape around me, fragments of poems or song lyrics, or shapes and figures perceived in clouds or the folds of laundry or random objects. The colours and tones come unbidden. I love weaving colours together and would find it difficult (and boring) to paint in monotone. I employ thin lines of paint and glazes to describe a sense of emotion and space. The title of this painting is a line from a song by The Cure. It suits the swirling and mysterious narrative of an underwater world.
What is the creative process when creating your vibrant figurative art?
I tend to set to work on a canvas without much preparatory research. I’ll flesh out the foundations of a composition to see where it takes me. Colour studies and drawings begin later as the trajectory and symbolism of the painting starts to form. The painting rarely ends up looking as I originally imagined it. Instead, it develops a life of its own through a series of happy accidents, eureka moments and contemplation (and occasional swearing). I enjoy layering glazes and sometimes gold leaf and mica particles to add depth and richness. Some areas of the painting are smooth, and others textured by layers of built-up paint. I dislike having completely flat surfaces and revel in the physicality of the qualities of the oil paint itself. For me, this adds interest to the artwork as an object on a wall as the light falls differently on the textures and glazes.
How long would this work have taken you?
This artwork took roughly 2 months in total to complete. It waited patiently in the studio to be finished for a few months while I painted a large commissioned seascape. I am sure that the ocean theme spilled over and influenced the finishing appearance of the painting.