About the oil


Writing the script for my 2nd symposium caused me to mention the significance that the oil medium has for me. The image above shows a very special oil source obtained about 30 years ago. It is cold pressed linseed oil as supplied by Zecchi of Florence – Zecchi being the artists’ materials shop right in the historic centre, very near the Duomo.

I think of this oil with reverence, always have done but especially now that it has acquired the age that it has. The oil, once living maintains an inner glow, now even more golden, as if somehow still alive. It also has a sensual fragrance – one that is characteristic of a historical painting studio.

To exalt this precious oil, I created a while ago a significant number of works on paper. These are generally smaller works relative to the larger paintings in oil on aluminium. I wanted to muse technically on the notion of the oil as a living thing.

The oil’s behaviour on paper is as if has its own source of motion, moving of its own accord, eventually drying. I see this as a living property – it is as if it goes through a life cycle of growth and development and aging, transforming throughout. This has correspondence with the transmutation of the larger paintings on aluminium too – the material embodies the idea. I see oil paint as much more than just paint – an end in itself more than just a means to an end.

These works are now as much as three years old some more, some less and have been altering themselves in the meantime – I find revisiting them fascinating.

Some of them are shown below and now I am also thinking of taking a portfolio of them to The Summer show. Perhaps I shall also take the oil itself, so people can experience the fragrance mentioned above.

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