Fed up with abstract and stencil based art I thought to myself , can I still draw ? Its a question I ask myself to this day , drawing has never come easily to me and each time I come to it I always feel as if I'm relearning how to draw all over again . So in 1997/8 I asked myself the question and set out to do a series of still lives . The first one looked a little like this
I set up a cardboard box in my studio marking it with lines to give a horizontal and vertical guideline and within the box I placed shapes that I'd cut out of cardboard and painted different colours or had a natural colour . Some of the shapes came from an earlier source work shown on the right . Some of the shapes were trash hanging around the domes and benders ( one the tray a chicken came on , one a margarine tub and another a herbal tea box ) as the series progressed my eye became keener ( and remember these were all painted without daylight , partly due to the dome having no windows and partly because I wanted to create an unchanging lighting scheme ( a method I continue to use in later work ) , I couldn't be doing with repainting and drawing constantly as the light changed , and in part I see still life as both pyschological and an enquiry into whatever it is in front of me , the shapes and objects I choose have to take on a life and story of their own , they must be animated )
These were all painted on sections of an old wardrobe that was hanging around , I just pulled it apart and cut down the usuable sections to the size I wanted , which for these is roughly just under A2 .
So feeling a bit cockier with myself having calibrated my eye and realising , yes , I could still draw ( the drawing is done directly onto the board and adjusted as needed) I thought , right lets paint something a bit more real . We Had bought one of the children a pirate boat for one of his birthdays and as he wasn't playing with it at the time I borrowed it and set it up in the carboard box I was using as a stage set for the previous paintings and set to work .
I still consider this to be one of my better paintings , it has a lot of faults but it laid the groundwork for the paintings I made between 2009 and 2012.
There were two more paintings in this series after which I pretty much stopped painting still lives - but the reasons why will be in the next post.