“The Writing is on the Wall” – acrylic, ink on paper. 50cm. x 70cm.
In this chaotic painting my prime intent was to include text, I am not sure why. Maybe it is out of concern about my worsening handwriting, or more likely because I am now able to include text with a certain authority. Words that mattered little to me a year ago have now assumed gravitas, they form part of the Parkinson’s story, which is now also my story, and so they belong.
Words, like dopamine, bradykinesia and leva-dopa, can be spelt out amongst the more established symbols, taking their place in a personal abstract vacabulary that forms the image. Without enough Dopamine, brain cells that control movement die, the ability to control movement is drastically reduced, – “welcome to Parkinson’s disease, Davie”.
Text was spontaneously scrawled across the surface with twigs dipped in various inks, I thought these final words to be a fitting title. For no matter what – Parkinson’s is a degenerative condition, “the writing is on the wall”, and inevitably, there can be only one victor.
Acrylic and ink on 300gsm paper. 50cm. x 70cm.
Recognisable motifs or symbols have become recurring elements in my works. New symbols often appear as a painting developes and if relevant, they remain.
The hands developed from vague distant memories of junior school art, (when we would draw an outline around our hands to be coloured in). However when added to this work the hands took on a new meaning and memories most rececent, replaced those of earlier times. “Steady Hands” show that as a Parkinson’s sufferer, I am fortunate to not yet have tremors. The vibrant colours are my way of railing against a dull unpleasant disease. And the “Lost Neurons”, how else can I portray brain cells no longer there, than to have voids and holes within the image? Lost neurons are gone forever, I must use different cells to ‘rewire’ my brain.
“Scibbling”, Acrylic and Ink on paper. 50cm. x 70cm.
Another painting in my ‘Parkinson’s’ series of works. Composed of many layers, laden with symbolism and memory, from the blackboard in earlier layers to the egg in the foreground. It recalls the thrill as a young schoolboy is introduced to pots of coloured paints, comparing that experience to the same boy today,. Inspired by colour still, but now much older. ‘Scribbling’ has more than one definition in this painting, one meaning talks of handwriting as I re-learn to write. Another concerns memory. Recollections of a young boy, fascinated by the markings on the eggs of the Yellowhammer. As young boys we used to call this small bird the ‘Scribbling Master’. The egg itself may be a symbol of new life. It could be my new life, one of re-learning lost skills. Time passes; now it is I who may be the ‘Scribbling Master’.
“Helter Skelter” – Acrylic and ink on paper, 50cm. x 70cm.
The title came from the sixties White Album, but the image was inspired by a recent Paul Macartney concert.
Could I be going around in circles on this hectic fairground slide? Where the satisfaction of conquering one challenge of Parkinson’s disease, is soured by frustration. Knowing that I am riding the slippery spiral, Helter skeltering towards many more challenges.
To quote the words from – Lennon / Macartney.
When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
Where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride
Till I get to the bottom and I see you again.
Patterns of Place, 1.
It has been a little while since my last post, nevertheless I have not been unproductive. These images, completed a few months ago are a way of progressing from the landscapes in my last posts. I am lured back to abstraction in my search to translate emotion, and a sence of place, into the visual.
In their own way each image has some degree of sucess.
‘Patterns of Place, 1″. Is an attemt to simplify the landscape into blocks of colour. Constantly changing with the varying light it is difficult to contain the changing colours within a single image.
“Dappled Sunlight” I want to catch the the colours of sunlight on Tallow-wood and the green of new growth amongst darker shadows.
“Understory, 1”. The brightest of days often cast the darker shadows. In apprehension I am drawn toward the tangled undergrowth. What is hidden within, what lies beyond, should I dare crossthat line?
Although these works are the result of both ‘en plien air‘ and studio sketches, ultimately the drawings serve only as a reminder of an experience, and the final images merely a fleeting memory, or impression of a moment in time.
“The Unformed Road” Acrylic and ink on paper, 50cm. x 70cm.
I have given this painting the title “The Unformed Road”, because that’s how it is described on the topographical map of the location. It has now become bordered on all sides by private properties, a landlocked strip of wilderness. This particular spot adjoins our back garden, and is a favourite shady place for kangaroos to rest in the afternoons. I have been attracted to paint here; to me it is a mysterious, wild place where nature is reclaiming what humankind once tried to fence off and control. I am reminded of Kipling’s poem, “The Way Through the Woods”. Typical English wildlife and ghosts from the past inhabit Kipling’s lost road, whereas Bandicoots, Kangaroos, raucous Kookaburras, quarrelsome Lorikeets, musical Butcherbirds, make this a magical space to me. The surrounding area shows mostly evidence of modern settlement. It has been claimed, occupied, fenced, farmed and built upon, but traditionally it is Yaegl land so I am sensitive to this fact and respectful when walking over this ground.
“Over the Fence – 2”. Acrylic on 300.gsm. paper, 50cm. x 70cm.
I have been asked what is it that brings me back to a more representational style. In other words, why am I painting these new landscapes? Am I reflecting back to the woodlands of my youth? The answer is that I do not know, nor should I be too concerned. I think that to be too analytical may lead me toward fabricating an untruth.
To me “Over the Fence” is much the same as my recent abstract landscapes. When I look back on them they seem have an element of the unknown in nature. It may be that I am responding to a fear of the unknown, There may also be a supersticious or spiritual concern in my work. Nevertheless to think too much about the reason why when I am painting would lead me nowhere. No matter what the subject, there is much intuition in my work.