why do i paint what i do?
I’m a British artist working with paint and sometimes more modern technology, though I didn’t start out that way. After university in England and a brief spell in London financial services, I spent14 years living in California, working in marketing for high-tech companies in Silicon Valley and then later as an art consultant in San Francisco where I founded a company called Blue Tangerine Art. I loved helping people find art for their personal and corporate collections but I began to realise I was looking for a particular painting -- one that I was going to have to paint myself.
Sometimes the smallest things can set you off in a new direction. Reading a book about archetypes by Carolyn Myss called Sacred Contracts triggered such an “Ah-ha” moment for me. It said, if you promote the arts (as I was doing as an art consultant), then you are in fact the Artist archetype. This phrase alone gave me permission to pick up a paint brush and teach myself to paint, after having abandoned studio art (though not history of art) at age 13. So I set about learning all I could, with the help of my artist mother and her teacher, Robin Child, who was himself taught by a student of Walter Sickert.
Living in California gave me the freedom and space to experiment with the effects of intense, vibrating colour on a large scale. Now that I live in the wilderness of west Cornwall, not far from Land’s End, I find a similar freedom and space. The huge skies and quality of light here, the extreme climate (Cornish winters can be harsh!) and empty landscape free from urbanisation allow a more direct communication with spirit and silence.
All these, as well as my yoga and meditation practice, infuse and inform my work. For me, painting is a lifestyle, a career and a spiritual experience. There are times when I get goose bumps and my spine tingles at the feeling of being in communication with a sense of something much deeper and more expansive than I will ever understand. And it’s this that spurs me on - an attempt to express the metaphysical, that essential part of our Selves that is beyond words and language.
Perhaps you’ll see that in my work. I certainly hope so. Perhaps you’ll recognise a painting that’s for you. Often, it happens that way.
For me, it’s a joy to be able to get up and paint every day, to spend time in the studio where 5 hours can seem like 5 minutes. Allowing myself to express what wants to come through - whether it be an abstracted landscape or a purely non-objective abstraction that is simply about the essence of Self, expressed in colour and gesture. For me, that’s my bliss.
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