Rising Sun, 2012, oil & enamel on paper mache, 94 cm approx
What are you working on in your studio right now?
I have just returned to Melbourne after a month based in Florence and Frankfurt . While I was away I visited many museums, the two that have stayed with me were the Kunsthaus, Zurich (for the Cy Twombly sculptures) and the Emil Schumacher Museum in Hagen. I got several ideas while I was away from the studio which are a development on the ideas I was working on before I left. So my current work stems from this. I also have a request for two big paintings, which is almost a commission, based on my earlier gestural work. So two lots of work are going on in the studio right now, which is a little unusual.
Two Diamonds, 2012. Oil, enamel, pigment
and PVA on canvas, 2x37x37 cm
Can you describe your working routine?
I paint for some hours nearly every afternoon. I do admin stuff at night or in the morning. As well as this I spend time thinking about painting and looking at other artist’s paintings on the web.
Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
My studio runs across my property and is as big as I could make it. I also have a storage office room in the house. I built the studio (which is a shed) in 1999 as a place where I could make a mess. The natural light is not great and this affects my work during the change of seasons twice a year due to the reflected light.
Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.
I walk several times a week for health reasons in my local environment or anywhere. In the studio marks I make remind me of marks I see in the environment and I start reflecting on what I have seen on my walks. Sometimes I get a flash of an idea, or a leap and this is what takes a painting to another plain. I work on several pieces at once and there is no one way of doing things. Some start from a thumbnail sketch of a clear vision and others come from a general conceptual space. Sometimes a better idea presents itself in the process and the ability to carry this through is the challenge, the excitement. Some flop when the idea is not strong enough and I get lost and it becomes a torrid affair that ends in the bin.
"‘slip board’ is the sort of thing that I am attracted to in my environment"
What are you having the most trouble resolving?
When a painting is resolved. It takes a lot of time deciding that. I have three places in the house where I hang works. Some works can sit for weeks while I ponder whether they are finished or not. If they go back to the studio it must be with a ‘prepared to lose what is there’ approach.
Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?
I need a changing muse of materials (to keep the experimenting and therefore the work interesting and alive). At present it is multiple panels, shaped canvases and paper mache.
What does the future hold for this work?
I am trying to capture the essence of my local place, but hopefully it is also a generic place, the city.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The theme is always constant, and that is nature in the city, or nature reclaiming the made city and the random abstraction therein.
ZigZag, 2012. Oil, enamel and pencil on canvas, 153x153 cm