“The purpose of Painting is to make Poetry visible.”
– Rene Magritte
Making images has always seemed like a natural activity for me. I’ve done it all my life… as schoolboy, art student, art teacher and as a professional in various crafts of Animation.
Film-making has left me with an abiding interest in story. This, for most of the 20th century, was a taboo subject for visual artists. Now, fortified by Tom Wolf’s The Painted Word, I’m happy to be a Narrative Painter. This means that, by choice, I’ll paint what I imagine rather than what I see.
Currently I’m working from Joyce’s Ulysses. This long day’s journey through Dublin… through the lives of its characters and the maze-like mind of Joyce… is a wonderful source of pictorial ideas.
My earlier paintings were strongly influenced by Magritte’s surrealism. Surrealism stretches imagination to breaking point… and is permanently in danger of collapsing into laughter. As another great Surrealist said…“Time flies like an arrow… Fruit flies like a banana” *
Painters are classified as Direct and Indirect. Direct painters are brave and adaptable. They “surf” the painting process to its not-always-predictable outcome. By instinct, I am of the “Indirect” persuasion. I start cautiously, with a well-worked-out design and try to stay in control of the paint.
It is my ambition to master the complexities of composition and the relationships of colour, tone and texture. This is because I believe painting to be a coherent language, not a matter of decoration or aesthetic whimsy.
I completely agree with Ben Shahn’s comment… “For me, there would be little reason for painting if idea were not to emerge from the work.”
With such fluency as I can achieve, I want to give form to my “poetical” ideas.