These are some notes written last month that I came across this morning. 


I seem to be stuck as to a way forward. It is easy to be side-tracked by looking at other artists’ work but the source material (for me) has to be drawing and before that observational drawing. If you paint you have to be aware and open to what others have done and are doing.

Philip Guston said it is only in that moment of absolute frustration in the work that you find the open air beyond it, and you cannot fake that point of bafflement.

So, this morning… I squared up a sheet of thick paper and began a painting of clouds over the sea; working from a charcoal and acrylic drawing. Then another small acrylic, reworking it from a sketch book drawing of stacked clouds over the sea. A few drawings in grey and black chalk of the cliff sloping down to the beach, trying to find a way forward for the canvas on the painting wall which is now only a patchwork of yellow paint strokes.

Also reworking a charcoal drawing using a pencil drawing of the marshes at the Haven; reworking it using black chalk and white acrylic.

And then a few drawings of lines of clouds over the sea and reworking a small acrylic of the same…


Sometimes you just cannot do what you think you want to do in a painting. The painting seems to demand something else. I suppose you could impose your will onto it but is that how a painting is made? Is it not rather rehearsing all the things that you think might make the painting then allowing, beyond that frustration of all your best strategies by your high demands of the results, allowing the painting to appear through the paint and the act of painting. (8th March 2013)