Sunday, September 28, 2014


Ever since I painted the above for our arts festival poster and programme in February, I have been meaning to paint more interiors. And, completely unrelated, botanical illustrations. After years and years where nine out of ten of my paintings would feature a face or a figure, human or feline (the tenth would most likely be a seascape), I find myself drawn to other subject matter - though I doubt the figures will disappear.

hazy light in my kitchen

I love Hammershoi's muted, restrained interiors (and of course the enigmatic people who inhabit or pass through many of them), but my own style is much looser. This reflects real life: I like the calm a minimalist aesthetic brings, but my house is more homey than bare; I am surrounded by things, though I do my best not to accumulate stuff. Of course it does not have to be a contradiction to like both. When it comes to art I happen to also adore representations of interiors bursting with life, colour and exuberance. Like Hammershoi's paintings, they too provoke a visceral reaction (often the sense of how ephemeral everything is - not as depressing an observation as it sounds -, followed by joy, or vice versa).

So many of the objects around me carry meaning beyond their form, and I like looking at the things that fill my house and enjoy the colour and cosiness of it all and want to paint it. I will always be a bit of a clean freak and would think that living on my own for the last six years surely must have made me more set in my ways. But I find myself getting more relaxed about the level of tidiness - I no longer believe I won't be able to sleep if I leave my notebook open on the kitchen table before going to bed. I can only credit mellowing with age for this change. My hope is that this will enable me to work within a so far elusive creative chaos; my need to have everything odered and tidy before starting work must have cost me months of productivity.

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