Known ideas and new unknowns


What happens when I make a painting which sits outside of my ideas about the type of work I make? For example, if I believe I only make abstract work, what happens when I make something different?

Do I dismiss this new painting because it’s doesn’t sit within my current (and long held) beliefs about the type of work I make or do I instead expand my notion of what I make, risk undermining what I thought was true, and in turn open up plenty of new unknowns, uncertainty and possibility?



acrylic on canvas
300 × 400mm

Three things

A thing I made this week – this detail from a page in my notebook.

A page from my sketchbook with green paint on top of purple brush marks.

A thing I listened to this week – Edwyn Collins new album.

A man stands with a walking stick between two metal sheds

It’s his tenth solo album and the third since recovering from two cerebral haemorrhages and aphasia in 2005. He’s in fine voice and there’s something wonderfully frank about his lyrics.

A thing I saw this week – new exhibitions at City Gallery

A three panel blakc and white abstract video image of swirling forces.

Perhaps because earlier in the morning I’d been reading about Selected Ambient Works Vol 2 and the band Stars of the Lid, or maybe it was because I was in one of those wandering-around-and-noticing-things moods. Either way I was primed for some abstract noise with scratchy atmospheric black and white visuals – Semiconductor’s Brilliant Noise 2006 hit the spot.

Gardener or Architect?


Work in progress (Things in space)
acrylic on canvas
405mm × 380mm

Listening to a podcast with the author Neil Gaiman. He’s talking about the writing process and how some writers are architects, others are gardeners.

Architects plan, create a blueprint, a structure. There’s a framework. They build and construct their writing brick by brick. Thanks to the plan they’ve a clear picture of the end result.

Gardeners meanwhile plant a variety of seeds, tend to the them, nourish them, and hell, maybe even play them some music. They won’t know which seeds will flourish. Some will die while others bloom into something quite unexpected. Only time will tell.

The same thinking of course applies to painting, and right now I’m gardening.