Friday, 15 April 2016

Well I woke up this morning , staggered out of my dome and thought , yea lets not drink anymore.

The commune mark two was started to come together again . New people from England , constant stream of people running from the growing nastiness of thatchers Britain. One of these was a single parent called Stella who had visited an ex boyfriend who lived in the field with us in the summer of 94 before everyone left , he was a nasty psychopath. She seemed interesting and not afraid to get her hands dirty doing stuff. She also had four children , I kept in touch with her through the post and telephone , she really wanted to come and live here , though I don't think she had really thought it through much , or talked to her kids about it , but anyway she turned up one spring morning in a huge Ford Granada estate with three young children and a toddler in tow , on top of the car were bikes and a huge travelling chest, and nothing to make a bender out of . So we set to to make a dome addition to my dome so she and the kids at least had somewhere to sleep.

After a few months we moved across the river to the other part of the farm , which had been part of an ongoing legal dispute between a woman who was basically squatting the farm ( by placing our benders in the big field which was on another field we had deprived her of that part ) , my very good friend to this day Vincent (see painting below from 2012) finally had his farm back and we still had somewhere to live plus electricity and running water ! 

Vincent O'Brien (2012)

The kids apart from the youngest went to the local village school in Rahan and I set too painting with a fury , I was still drinking ,  and I started to see how badly this had affected what I had done in the past and what I was doing now , waking up and not being able to remember the conversation I was having with the painting I'd been working on ( as painting is I feel a conversation between me , the painting and the viewer ) . I was drinking more than I was spending on materials ( the painting below was done on the bonnet of a car with house paint)

Somebody suggested I might have a problem with my drinking and I looked back at college and what I could have achieved then , and looked at my life now , how drink had destroyed any technical skill or perspective I might have , then I looked at who was around me , my then partners children and the effect that my dads drinking had had on my growing up and my three sisters , and after one particularly horrendous drinking bout I woke up with one of my infamous three day hangovers and could only crawl out of my dome on hands and knees to be greeted by the site of three children dressed in school uniform about to go to school and staring at me , I thought , no more of this . That was 1996 , haven't drunk since.

These two left and right I think were done whilst I was still drinking , the one on the right I eventually chopped in half and the bottom half turned into a different painting that was exhibited in a group show  ( see detail below )

It all started out splashy and abstract , vague shapes appearing from out of the settling mind post alcohol , I don't see them as great paintings , there are fragments and flashes of my old self ( some of the shapes come out of the paintings I'd done on a friends barrel top wagon which I wanted to be modern versions of Celtic Knot work )  , and I started realizing  through that and the other paintings here exactly what I had lost to drink , its a great bringer of sobriety to know how much of yourself you have destroyed.

But gradually I started finding my way into painting again , and the painting below seemed to tell me I could still do it. its called 'listers day off' , the shapes are found from a lister engine that a hanger on in the original commune had ' liberated' from a building site .

Listers day off.

The last one above is called sneaky pete . I kind of said to myself , okay I hadn't worked properly at college , so here in the field , sober and conscious finally ( and alive) I can do the work I should have done then , and prove to myself that I could still paint and treasure the gift that I felt I had been given and that I had tried so hard to destroy , along with myself.

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