INSERT IMAGES AND USE FOR A THE BASIS OF A FEW BLOG POSTS
This series of paintings highlights my ongoing preoccupation with cafe's, bars, clubs and restaurants. They offer valuable opportunities for distraction, indulgence, head-space and, most crucially from my perspective, the time and space for non-domestic, real, physically-present engagement with other people.
The work began after a "light bulb" moment during a family break in Amsterdam. We founds ourselves in some really chilled and intriguingly designed spaces and I became totally absorbed by the mix of light, colour, decor, space, sound, the recreation and energy of others. Needless to say, I also hugely enjoyed what we consumed and our own lively and sometimes revelatory conversations, all enabled by that time and space. Since then, places closer to home have provided equally rich source material and I love the fact that any caffeine-inspired "pit-stop" can become a much-photographed research trip.
During the making of these paintings I've found myself developing a particular approach. Having carefully selected a source image to match what caught my eye about a particular place, I try to reflect that reaction with the base colour I put first on canvas. I then briefly map-out the picture space and then take my time to enjoy applying the paint in touches of thin white acrylic wash - building up the layers and editing the view until I've illuminated what works for me. I try to balance the creation of a visually intriguing image with enough ambiguity so the viewer might find themselves thinking about and completing the narrative for themselves. Occasionally I add select elements of other colour and block figures in white if I feel this might elevate the impact of the picture. The paintings themselves range from “wide-shots” capturing a specific place, atmosphere and social composition, to “close-ups” from scenes that are about to start, already in progress or only just over. I've come to describe them as “ghosts of a good time”.