Journeys by night are lit by the beauty of moving headlights, pulsating shop signs, the glow of the setting sun or the brightness of the rising moon.
Driving has been such a big part of my life, that seeing these pastel paintings of roads and cities at night capturing the feeling of movement and mood makes me smile. The atmospheric images of darkness that Damion Maxwell has posted on Artfinder have made me think about so many moments from my life over the last 18 months. The pastel work is wonderfully drawn.
Damion is observing what’s around him and capturing it. Such a simple thing to say, but a really challenging thing to do, when you’ve chosen nighttime for the subjects. I love the way he appears to have painted with fast and free strokes of soft bright pastels. The perspective leads me through the pictures, but I just have to stop off several times on the way to look at other bits of action. Vibrant colours are singing off of the black background. A fleeting moment captured, giving an impression of the rush and steady stream of traffic moving.
The darkness really comes alive in “Drama on the hard shoulder” which appears to be just a random shot of vehicles travelling along the road. However, it’s one of those paintings which you can enjoy from a distance but you really should look closer. You gradually see more and more. So many individual stories – who is in what vehicle? Where have they been? Where are they going? Will the traveller broken down reach their destination? All the time the blue overhead signs calling my eyes to the back of the picture.
It’s great to then read that Damion is self-taught and still exploring mediums and styles. Interestingly his day job, which I’m sure is also very often a night job, is as a firefighter. Has that flicker of light in the darkness shaped his choice of subjects I wonder? To start with a dark ‘canvas’ and create light on it is an additional challenge. However, it does bring with it a sense of freedom to layer colours. Drawing light from the darkness. Then I read the descriptions and Damion has a good sense of humour and loves what he is creating. I think that shines through.
The latest series of pastel works that Damion has uploaded to Artfinder include another magical image. He’s captured the rainy pleasure of “Late Night Shopping”. Those enticing windows glowing in the darkness, bright jewels of colour. the shoppers under umbrellas on a grey rainy night. Still out there enjoying the excitement of the thought of getting a bargain and probably a cup of coffee too. The choice of colours in this picture is lovely. Sherbetty yellows and pinks with a touch of orange and turquoise blue making it shimmer. I am really looking forward to seeing more pieces.
This blog was written by Kathryn Sassall.