A Leaf Changes Colour in Autumn – Painted Maple Leaf

Contemporary art - a leaf painted blue with red polka dots

A Leaf Changes Colour in Autumn
Leaf, acrylic paint. September 2018

A maple leaf painted blue with red polka dots.
The leaf had fallen from the tree in autumn.
The inspiration for this work came partly from the fact that the leaves on the trees were changing colour in the autumn, prompting me to think of changing their colours in other ways.
In previous years I’ve painted acorns and suchlike in unusual colours.
Like a lot of my work, this work is involved interacting with and responding to the natural environment.

Contemporary art and the environment - a maple leaf painted blue with red polka dots
A detail of the painted leaf.

Minimalist abstract – black square with circle removed

Contemporary minimalist gouache painting - black square with circle removed

Black Square with Circle Removed
Gouache on paper. 30cm x 30cm. June 2018

Part of a series of abstract minimalist paintings of black squares with a circle missing from a corner, in this case along with the part of the square that is separated from the main body of the square by the circle.
This painting is a study of presence and absence. The black square has the quality of a solid, impactful entity while the white circle and top left corner give the impression of absence or negative space.
In other images the black square itself conveys a quality of negative space, suggesting a black void in the centre of the image.

Bird Form – an abstraction from a raven or crow

Semi-abstract artwork of a raven or crow

Bird Form
Ink on paper with digital additions. September 2018

A drawing based on an abstracted raven or crow-like bird.
The creature in this drawing is only superficially meant to resemble a raven or a crow. It’s actually meant to resemble something rather simpler – not a lot more than just a triangle on legs with a beak (Other drawings of similar creatures bear no resemblance to any recognisable biological genus at all). The body is meant to have very little form or obviously functional components (There are no eyes, wings or arms for example). The body is simply a structure for holding the legs and beak in place.
The creature is meant to convey a form of mindless brutality, largely conveyed by its posture, its lack of eyes and its vicious beak. Real crows, ravens and other members of the corvid family are, in contrast, are far from mindless, being renowned for being among the most intelligent of birds.
The image is in some ways a study in anthropomorphism. Crows are often perceived as being malevolent creatures, largely due to their appearance (The black feathers, the large beak). If I’d created the image using, say, a robin as the inspiration for the bird, would it have looked so full of foreboding to us as a human audience? Even though robins are in fact a particularly aggressive species.

Watercolour study: stability and uncertainty

A contemporary watercolour study of stability

Watercolour study: stability and uncertainty
Watercolour. 20cm x 20cm. 2018

A watercolour painting created as part of a series exploring the depiction of simple, precise geometric forms (such as the triangle here) using techniques that introduce imprecision to the geometry of the image.
A study of order, stability, uncertainty and potential disintegration.

Stranded Object: art and climate change

contemporary art and global warming - abandoned marooned form

Stranded Object
Ink, gouache, digital, paper. 28 x 19cm. July 2018

This image, like many images that I’ve created recently (mid 2018) is a work that is largely generated from my imagination. Having said that, the original inspiration for the crescent-like form was a piece of toast crust.
The work contains definite ominous overtones. These are probably linked to the general atmosphere of foreboding that seems to permiate society at the moment (manifesting itself in such things as the election of Donald Trump in the USA and the swing of many European countries to the right). On top of this the phenomenon of global warming threatens to disrupt the earth’s entire ecosystem and to overturn all civilisation as we know it. Things have only just started to get bad.
The prime source of the foreboding in this work is indeed climate change and the fear of a devastated planet. The imaginary object in the image bears some resemblance to an organic form, possibly a part of an animal’s anatomy – perhaps a horn or a jawbone. The slender forms that protrude from what may be the teeth of a jawbone could possibly be legs, turning the form into something like an upturned crustacean. Whatever it is, the object has the feel of a decaying life-form. The object also has something of the feel of an unnatural artefact – perhaps a piece of rubble following the destruction of a building (with the slender forms representing metal rods in reinforced concrete).
Whatever it is, the object is abandoned or marooned on a featureless plain that probably represents the devastated earth following the ravages of climate change. The fact that the object looks very large is probably symbolic of the enormity of the threat that climate change represents.
Having said all that, the work was not created with any particular symbolism or meaning consciously in mind. I’ve worked backwards from the finished image to find its possible meaning. I’m sure that it also has meanings that are purely to do with the workings of my own brain.

Stone eye

surrealism in contemporary art - giant stone eye

Stone eye
Ink, gouache, digital. July 2018

A sketch of a gigantic stone eye resting on the ground. A mysterious pipe-like cylinder extends upwards from the eye. A similar eye in the distance shows the pipe-like structure extending unfeasibly high into the air.
The eye and pipe bring to mind some designs of stove.
Perhaps the image is influenced by Celebes by Max Ernst, in which the rotund form was derived from a Sudanese corn bin..

Square and circles : gouache and watercolour

contemporary watercolour and gouache abstract art - black square with red circles

Black square, white circle, red circles
Gouache and watercolour, watercolour paper. 24cm x 21cm: July 2018
Ghis is a painting from a series that I’m working on that explores the dynamics of stability and instability.
The square in the image suggests stability, while the circles, with their lack of roundedness and their off-kilted positioning, suggest instability. The smoke effect adds to the sense of disequilibrium.

The painting has no specific right way up, which all helps with the feeling of precariousness that the work generates.

Mixed media (watercolour and plastic)

contemporary mixed media abstract art - watercolour with plastic

Mixed media (watercolour and plastic): July 2018.

An abstract monochrome watercolour painting incorporating a plastic mixing palette.
The mixing palette is visible through a hole that is cut in the painting.
There’s a certain amount of humour in the use of the mixing palette in this work (to me at least). The palette is essentially a found object, of the type that was popular with the surrealists and other artists. This found object however was the actual palette that I used to hold the colour for the painting, so it was an incredibly convenient object to find. I just had to reach over and pick it up. I like the way that the palette isn’t obviously a palette, as an obvious palette in an artwork is a bit self-referential and solipsistic.

Mixed media artwork: watercolour with fresh fruit

abstract watercolour painting with fresh fruit

Abstract watercolour with fresh fruit
June 2018
This image was created by a process of serendipity.
I had recently created the abstract watercolour square using a technique that I’m experimenting with at the moment. Then I decided to experiment with creating sculptural forms from bananas. I placed the banana on top of the watercolour while I wondered what to do with it (not normally good practice) and decided that I liked the composition and the contrast in form between the watercolour and the fruit.

Abstract watercolour painting: White Circle

abstract contemporary art watercolour painting - white circle

White Circle: May, 2018.
An abstract watercolour painting that plays with the tension between the absolute stable state of a circle and the chaotic state of the rest of the image.
The perforations along the edge of the paper are an integral component of the composition, being part of the disruptive tension in the work.

Abstract watercolour

contemporary art abstract geometrical watercolour

An abstract watercolour.
The painting is meant to be partly suggestive of pure abstract forms and partly suggestive of half a sphere hovering above a column.
The texture on the forms is created using a watercolour pencil.

Abstract watercolour – unintentional tribute to Brian Rice

abstract watercolour painting - black square with red and blue

An abstract watercolour painting
May 2018. 110mm x 110mm

The black square and the blue teeth in this abstract watercolour were painted en plien air in a wood full of bluebells in the grounds of Hatfield House, Hertfordshire. The red centre or the square was added later in the studio.
I thought that this painting was a spontaneous composition from my own subconscious, but a few weeks after I’d created it I was browsing through a book from my bookshelves of the work of Brian Rice in which I found multiple versions of very similar images.

Spontaneous watercolour sketch

Contemporary art watercolour sketch - spontaneous painting from the unconscious

This watercolour sketch was an exercise in creating something without any preconceived idea about what I was about to create.
It turns our to be a slightly sinister landscape, in the centre of which there is something that may or may not be a living entity. Originally this object looked more like a strangely shaped rock, but the addition of colour to it removed it from the rest of the landscape and turned it into something separate from the landscape. The blue dot in the image, which is just a circle of coloured paper placed on the image, gives the possibly living entity an air of sentience, as it seems to be contemplating a strange sun in the sky.