Got my colours out of the box today, its been an amazing few months of shows and excitement but releasing the work, the time, the intense colour from my Barcelona box was quiet emotional, it took me straight back there, to the hill in monjiuc, to the freedom, to the colour.
I think freedom is the operative word here, I have loved being back in the UK, seeing the cowsparsley bud and flower, the first lambs. We have hired a place on a hill in herefordshire and its like nestling in the essence of the English countryside. We have watched Spring explode, full and exuberant and felt it turn to Summer in long nights and bright full moons.
The studio is hot today, like it was in the attico apartement at the sagrada terrace. We have had a city weekend, sociable and working, we slip back to our old ways of ‘its just easier to work’ as deadlines loom and pressure mounts. But opening my box of colour I see the days of freedom, of playfulness and I understand why artists have to have residencies, ‘time out times’ for exploration.
We have to be strong to be able to work, to think, like running into a room and bracing the door with your back and legs just to see some space in front of you. If you work to other clocks you have no space to work, and no space to work means no work, which means you are no longer an artist. Just a machine thats dead inside. No writing, no thinking just a head full of other peoples plans.
So I left the box sitting on the shelf since September, like saving chocolate waiting for a special day, the smell as you open the box. But this is not the easy satisfaction of soft centres, this box contains experimentation, a mapping down of the intense colours of Baracleona, the smell of oils. There is a playfulness of near insanity of too long spent alone in an attic.
The colours come out and bounce about in the sun of the studio, oranges zing against deep blue, my northern european work looks back quietly in browns and golds.
There are no orders or deadlines in this box, in the time capsule there is a reaching into the soul, a lack of dexterity in translation. My imagination is free to roam in clay, its a language in which I can communicate. But paint and imagination is a different thing for me. Although always challenging, peaches or apples can suggest a conversation between two people, a tomato still attached to the vine has its family tree. Reality excites my imagination and stories evolve by spending time with the form of two softening fruit; over time they give into each other as they soften, the lean, they sag.
With oranges I am given the gift of their exuberant colour, nature is generous, she constantly gives to the artist if we choose to accept. But imagination without the hint of reality, without the changing colour of a pepper to start a conversation has to come from deep within, using past pictures captured in memory. They appear on the page from subconscious feelings, as they do in clay. For other often brilliant painters this is their lifework. For me, with paint, I need to keep some hold on the real.