I have for too long, laboured under the misapprehension that the room should be at home, as on a minor technicality, I should really be teaching when I am at work and if not teaching then planning or god forbid the most onerous task of all ..marking. I curiously love marking but not 60 effing sets of books at the same time, after book 25 I begin to lose the will to live, after book 50 I am numb with boredom and invariably reward myself with something tasty but mighty fattening.
A-n-y-w-a-y, back to the story, so when my new school was on the planning desk I was still primarily a darkroom practitioner and so insisted that I was given a darkroom in the new school, and lo they did build me one, but without the double door! Seriously what morons. Luckily the students embraced digital and never wanted to dabble in the experimental dark arts and so I have what is essentially a windowless cupboard.
I decided as I had lost my office in the move to use it as a library cum storage facility, but as we moved I began to see the potential as somewhere to paint. It may seem a tad perverse but actually a windowless room is a joy, no distractions.
Yes, the lack of natural light is a pain but the privacy more than makes up for it. So I styled it up took photographs and this is what you may have seen some years ago, clean and tidy with some watercolour paintings in progress.
Well look how time changes. Why have I photographed it again? Well at college someone asked about sketch books and I panicked a little as I do draw in books and I do have books full of shape and colour references, but none of them are what I would consider to be sketchbooks. You do not really get the flavour of my thought process from the books at all, they are purely functional resources for me.
I then realised that this room is one big sketchbook, I pin all my reference source material on the wall and then work on the surface.
I work very small, never ever bigger than A4, to work bigger I would have to give up work as the momentum it would take cannot be achieved in the short bursts I have to work in. I do not resent that in the least, it makes me very disciplined and focused, which is a good thing.
So right now I am working very hard to free up my painting, if you peer hard enough you will see pinned to the wall a very small painting comprised of a red plate with a green circle on top placed on a yellow background. That is what I was working on, however although I love them dearly I was conscious I was trapped in the 'tea towel design' hell, a habit I acquired at college.
So I switched to oil bars instead.
Very messy and very fluid, they have really made me free up my mark making which I knew I could from last year at the Slade, but the minute you stick a brush in my hand I revert to type like memory plastic in a dishwasher.
I will go back to them when I am ready as I really love them, tea towels or not but I wanted to explore these ideas first whilst they were fresh in my head. I had thought we would take this work to be discussed at college, but bizarrely we have been set a project, I got the impression last night I was in the minority when it came to painting, and so for many, the project was set to kick start their own practise again.
I rarely post my work, I hate putting it out there, but I thought it would be fun to see what it looked like. They are about A5, no one piece is the same size as the other because I work on recycled card.
They are landscapes painted from memory, mostly Scotland but pretty much any visual reference will feed into them at some point.