Archive for February, 2012

National Park

February 9, 2012

This painting, National Park, has been bought for Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle, England, with funds from the Friends of Tullie House, The Art Fund and The V&A. It will be going on show at the gallery very soon.

I was the first really significant work produced after the winning of the John Moores Prize for Contemporary Painting  the previous September. Like all of my works, what is seen in the work is entirely fictional. What I had learned from my experience in the limelight of the contemporary art/painting world was channelled into this work. All that was at fault previously, the naive, the unprepared, the unprofessional, I attempted to get rid of in this and subsquent work, and I do believe that this has really happened in these last six years.

I set off in this work to produce a winter painting which was ABOUT my home landscape rather than of it. I have begun to realise that what is seen in my paintings is what I KNOW, which is as a result of what I have seen. The mountains have hints at and are the essence of the south-west Cumbrian mountains but as usual I had to invent them and to delight in exploring the landscape through the paint, to explore in the paint and to be enlivened by the success of the invention. What happened in the work was unplanned. I had produced a quite detailed yet spontaneous drawing, of which some elements remained in the final work which I carefully transferred to the canvas with charcoal which was fixed and slowly laid in with tinted Underpainting White. However, when this process was done I felt that I had lost interest in this quite pre-determined approach and so much of the lower two thirds of the painting was knifed over and over-painted in a quite random way. It was when the light was established through the more deliberate modelling of the mountains (which still continued to evolve in form from the original state) that form started to self-establish in the foreground and knife marks became quarry, low hill, forest, reservoir dam.

Later in the works growth I knew that there was here in this landscape the balance of the natural and the man-made, the preserved and the industrialised which are part of the balancing act of the National Park Authority. It was inevitable that the painting would end up being called National Park.