I’ve started work on a new series of paintings based on the Heavy Water Sleep work I’ve been doing over the past few years. The idea is to create a series of paintings based on the idea of the words being a trail in a landscape (in turn derived from the idea that the book is a kind of map, leading me through the landscape of the past). The words from each page will be cut out with most painted over either wholly or in part. The words which make up the ‘poem’ of each page will be left, as per the image below.
The above sketch shows how the words might be placed.
What I realised after completing this sketch is how important it is to create a sense of depth in the work. At the moment the words are raised upon the surface, whereas they need to appear ‘sunk’ into the paint layer like footprints in the snow. Furthermore, the picture plane needs to be much bigger to give a greater sense of space – of wilderness; after all, this work represents the idea of the past as a place.
I shall continue – fo the time being – working on this scale in order to get the textures right, then progress to a larger canvas.
I suppose the ‘feeling’ I want to achieve with these paintings is that of the lone traveller, following in the footsteps of someone long since gone, and the one landscape painter who comes to mind is Caspar David Friedrich, two of whose pictures are reproduced below:
Of course I’m not aspiring to create something that looks like these paintings, but something which instills within the viewer the same sense of space, solitude and wilderness – not forgetting a sense of time’s inevitable passing.