Yes, I’ve thought that before. In fact, almost always the most recent work feels like it’s the best. You are most in tune with the newest creative processes and the ideas attached to them. But having said all that, these recent pieces to feel like particularly good ones.
I seem to be finding potential of the ideas and approaches that started to take an initial form back in January. They paintings are slow and labour intensive to make, but the results are good. Bringing together visually interesting compositions, with landscape, seascape, weather, and the disrupted effect we are having on our environment.
The result……elements of beauty and elements of fragmentation.
Around fifteen years ago I made a series of drawings that were prompted by the increasing awareness of the storm clouds of climate change gathering on the horizon. Alongside this was the feeling that society and our leaders were showing little inclination for action. A human trait you might say, we prefer to sit on the edge of, or swim in, the comfort of our metaphorical swimming pool while the sky turns, grey, purple and black.
We hide from the confrontation, preferring to seek the security of short-term comforts and pleasures.
My drawings weren’t complex, I’ve always thought that this was the strength of these particular pieces. The isolation of the apparently tranquil pools in the turbulent landscapes around them. In other pieces figures stare into the pools that are in fact an Arcadian and idealized visions of the world, lifted from the history of art.
I spent Saturday on the streets of Amsterdam, along with 45000 other marchers, calling for greater action on the more and more pressing problems that climate change is bringing. As I walked, I was thinking of these drawings in particular. I was also reflecting on whether I actually wanted to spend the day in over-crowded trains and walking with thousands on the streets with Covid cases again on the rise? No, absolutely not. I would have preferred to have been at home, amusing myself in my studio perhaps. And there perhaps lies the problem, we all prefer to do those other things. We all prefer not to have to confront difficult or uncomfortable challenges. We can all do small things to contribute, but perhaps more than anything else we need to get our leaders to act and as a society we need to elect those who are prepared to act.
Today is the day to take my drawings out of the drawer and send them back out into the world, they are as relevant as ever.