In the studio:

Painting progressing, I wanted to capture each and every passage of paint so far – which I have done in terms of the animation above. Experience tells me that the painting is about a quarter of the way through but I can’t be certain. Lighting conditions vary greatly from day to day – have been capturing a higher res image of each passage and as far as possible calibrate/standardise according to the light conditions. The images in these posts are taken with a small pocket camera which I habitually use for its convenience – there has been no standardisation of the images shown here – actually, I quite like the flickering effect this causes – food for thought.

I would have liked to create a written narrative for each and every passage, as I have done so far but realise that breaking the painting down to such a degree is not appropriate at the moment, given the considerations that oil paint specifically imposes on the making of the painting – its poiesis is a matter of its circumstance too – it exists in uncertainty.

Its history begins to be veiled, though the veils are transparent – the veiling, though silent ‘says’ that though hidden from view, through me there are already many different stories here, as I (and therefore, You) have history.  It says, interpret this according to your own self, not through my eyes but through yours. There is permeability in all directions – I am made of a medium that is translucent, things can pass through it in all directions, you enter this field and see yourself within?

I wonder what you see in this, through your eyes.

The cell membrane; we are all made of cells has permeability, and we are alive because of it. Homeostasis, osmosis, diffusion – there is inner logic to all this though it is not logical according to the intellect only – it is the logicality (let’s call it?) of our own bodies making sense of the job of being alive. This is what I hear as the painting talks back to me in its silence. It tells the story of the invisible – the impossibly (invisibly) vast and the impossibly (invisibly small – the external universe meeting the internal universe within – this is how we know that we are alive? – I try to evidence it in this painting, tell you that I am alive too, and we are on common ground.

I ask you that which I ask of myself.

Some of its story has already been lost – but this is the nature of history, any history – understood/judged in terms of its most visible outcome, rather than the invisible elements. Given a different outcome the narrative would be different looking back – things have alternate histories, things depend on circumstances.

Specifically, in terms of oil paint and in my approach, paint is added and paint is also taken back. So drying times matter – I say drying times loosely – this is not really chemically accurate but never mind for now.

I remember that materially my technique has also been founded on a consideration of the idiosyncrasies of the oil medium – certain properties and behaviors are unique to oil.  I work with the possibilities and limitations of the medium (pushing the former and seeing the confinement of the latter as a liberation from it – because freedom is only really understood from confinement – or limitation?).  There is a philosophical dimension always in the material consideration and these philosophical musings lead me into worlds outside my own field. Through this, I see interconnections with other disciplines and fields of thought. I am talking with the whole world from the solitariness of my studio, my cell*, my room. I am not on my own and I wish to speak of it, and for it all.

The etymologies of two keywords, to help to explicate the above:



Experience tells me that the painting is about a quarter of its way along – this laborious approach, when I have to photo document every passage with two cameras, forces me to go more slowly than I have been doing normally. I have needed a reason to slow down – I find more in that which I am doing, reflecting as I go as usual but more important, recording thoughts as best I can. Handwriting my thoughts, as in traditional notebook form has always proved problematic – because handwriting IS for me a form of drawing first. I need the removal from the material that this computer screen gives me – otherwise the material overwhelms, becomes seductive rather than sensual, sensuality informs me, seduction doesn’t.

Whitman, Song of Myself, some lines from Section 2:

Houses and rooms are full of perfumes, the shelves are crowded with perfumes,
I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it,
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.
and a link to section 2, in its entirety:


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