‘Siena Fields’ is an acrylic painting on canvas 75cms width x 75 cms height. It is part of a series of paintings inspired by locations across Europe. The paintings in this series have been made to record the atmosphere, light and colour of locations in which I have travelled across Italy, Catalonia and the Greek Islands. Siena is the capital city of the province of Siena in Tuscany. It is a town well known for its cuisine, art, museums and medieval cityscape. There are 22 years since my first visit to this wonderful location. It is a town steeped in history and art. The Siena Cathedral is central to the culture of Tuscany. There is no doubt that my experience of this town has played such a major part in my understanding of painting. The paintings in this series are based on memories of living in or visiting the locations and as such try to capture the sense of place through expressive use of colour, light, shadow and texture. Other sources which inspire these particular paintings are varied including historical and ancient signs, symbols and motifs and mythologies. Early Renaissance artists such as Fra Angelico and Simone Martini have been so important. Then there is John Hoyland, Paul Gauguin, Howard Hodgkin, Helen Frankenthaler, Barbara Rae, Hans Hoffman, Alan Davie, Corneille and the COBRA group all of which are indeed inspirations. 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. 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 and crushed sea shells