‘Butterfly’s Grasp’ is an acrylic painting on canvas 45 width x 50 cms height . It is part of a series of paintings called 'Horizons'. In this context a horizon relates to a range of vision or a field of view. I live on the North West coast of the U.K. I walk the beach coastline with our dogs every morning at different times. The skylines I see are often very colourful and dramatic and as such have helped to inspire the horizon paintings. This is not however an attempt to capture realism, rather an expression of feeling, mood and atmosphere. The sources which inspire these particular paintings are varied and many, including historic signs, symbols and motifs, mythology, coastal skies, the seasonal changes of the coastal landscape, migration of seabirds, the natural habitat of the Sefton coast wildlife, North African art, American Abstract Expressionism, Henri Matisse, John Hoyland, Paul Gauguin, Howard Hodgkin, Helen Frankenthaler, Barbara Rae, Hans Hoffman, Alan Davie, Corneille and the COBRA group. I listen to a lot of music every day and always when I paint. There is perhaps a comfortable relationship between the genres of ambient music and improvised jazz that fits well as a setting for the paintings. The boundaries of what can be managed in a painting present a constant challenge to me and through a process of layering, cancellation and improvisation my intention is always to test such boundaries. I have used text within the image in all of the ‘Horizon’ series. I use words similarly to the way I use colours. Sentences or phrases are placed to suggest and direct how a viewer might perceive the work and develop their own understanding. The use of text is purposefully ambiguous, yet clearly related and important to the images I make. e.g: ‘lizard’s scaling a butterfly’s grasp’ refers to the camouflaged natural wildlife around the dunes and the marshes in this less than manicured environment. The compositions are structured to allow for incidental visual melodies in the same way a musician can create a sense of meaning and atmosphere through incident and improvised sound. The paintings incorporate visual melodies that have a principal part in the visual harmony.
I work on custom made frame stretched 8oz unprimed cotton canvas. The unprimed canvas allows dichlorotriazine dyes to saturate and bleed into the working area. I work over the dyed canvas using brushes, knives, cloths and squeegees to manage layers of acrylic paint. It is a continuous process of ‘correction’. At different stages I add crushed sea shells to the paint to create heavier surfaces. The paintings are built in layers over a period of time. I like to work on several canvasses at the same time, often returning to a previous painting to affect change and absorb influence from another source. Most of my work is made in series.
Acrylic paint, dyes, crushed sea shells