Today, it’s a large paintings for a change, “Farm and Autumn Fields”. It’s 24 x 40”, so there’s quite a nice area of canvas for some broad mark-making.
My previous paintings have all been about getting to know an area really well, so that you know individual plants throughout the seasons, and lining up the photographs absolutely exactly. The antithesis to this process is quickly taking photos as you pass by on a journey.
When I go to take photos, the parts in between the locations are often as interesting as the locations themselves. It’s just that you can’t stop, especially on a fast road, or on a train. It’s difficult to switch off if you’re a passenger., as you are constantly looking, looking, looking, and seeing the composition, watching for all the elements to line up. It’s impossible to look out of a window at a passing landscape , and the clouds and the changing light, and the undulating furrows in the earth and the patterns of the haybales, and not be in work mode.
So this painting was done from one of these very, very quick glimpses. If it’s a road that I travel on a lot, then I’ll often know when to look out for a particular point in the road. I then have to press the shutter on the camera before the elements all line up, so that hopefully I take the actual composition that I want.
Of course, there’s a big element of chance in it, and it’s just a question of opportunistically grabbing what I can see, of note-taking. I have lots of photos of trees which unexpectedly jump out in front of the camera!
But it’s ok if something is a little blurred or not quite where I would wish it – that’s the nature of the fleeting glimpse., the moment that’s there and then gone so suddenly and that only I have see thorough the camera. It’s a hugely personal, temporal moment. So it’s about embracing it and taking what it gives you, which includes all its imperfections and chance elements.