Small and intimate

When I first started painting seriously I was travelling and making my money by being photographed. I was making small, intimate paintings that I could cradle and hold in one arm while painting with the other. The subject matter could be described as proto-selfies. I sketched my own body looking down at it from a first person cinematic point of view. Mostly sketched while I lay in bed between rumpled sheets, the motif was a classical one of the female nude and drapery which I then rendered in a flat and graphic way. Not cartoonish nor graphic (like the 80’s artist Nagel) because the lines quavered and varied. The paint was dry gouache on linen. The dryer and chalkier the better. I loved the way that the paint absorbed the light and had a real world quality — it was not glossy or finished. There was an accessibility to the material. There was a system. Objects were painted in 3 variations of a colour tone. Shapes were outlined.  Some of the ways that I am working now on paintings (the smaller scale, the return to the figure, contour drawing, flatness and mattness in paint against brushiness and sheen) feel the same as the experiences of painting this past work — and it feels good. It feels like I’m connected to something authentic.

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