Words don't come easily to me, they never have. Before I could speak I communicated through paint. My mother even told me that before I was walking, I disrupted an art activity my sisters were having by crawling over to their blanket covered with paper and paint and began to stick my podgy hands in the colour pots and then straight into my mouth.
Later, I would bypass the mouth and go straight to the paper, but my hands and other body parts have always loved getting involved. To this day, I can find paint in my hair, on my face and strangely enough behind my ears. At times there may be more paint on my walls on my studio and on me than on the intended surface.
Don't get me wrong, I like pencils, crayons, felt tips and other drawing materials too, of course I do, they are the back up singers to my main vocalist, but my relationship to paint goes much deeper. Its fluidity is uncompromising, it can seem as if it has a life of its own, and colours, wow, my world is endless. I love to mix up pigments and mediums until the cows come home. A little more of this and a lot more of that, and just a sprinkling of this one; mix it with a dollop of that and a scoop of this and hey presto I have my unique blend of paint. Everyone is different, and I like it that way. Nick Wilton suggests mixing up a whole batch of paint and storing it to use again and again. But no, I like to stop and mix, take a break for a moment to do something a little mechanical, it gives me time to think. A time to breathe and look at what I've just painted.
At art college I was encouraged to work 3 dimensionally, to explore other ways to interpret my sketches and marks. My own version of string theory went down rather well, and I enjoyed the diversion but it was a one off.
I even tried my hand at sculpting, but nah, that just left me as cold as the clay/wood/stone I was trying to carve.
For a while I lost myself to printmaking. Yes, there was definitely an affinity there, after all what is ink if not paint in another guise.
Monoprinting was my chosen love in that arena, not the etching, screen printing or litho. Freestyling with ink was really only one step away from painting. Eventually I became frustrated by the constraints of the printing press, even though I had squeezed my very own monster press into my small studio. However, it also demanded that I remain super slim to actually use the beast.
Throughout all my different forays I didn't feel the same passion, that incessant need, that I do for paint. And so I remain, what some would call a little mainstream, fundamentally, a painter.
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