Of course , all good things come to an end . In late 1998 ( as I remember it ) the commune had started to fall apart, so me and my partner and her children had to find somewhere to live and quickly , eventually we heard of a house in Doorey near where we were, met up with landlord and rented it . It was desperate , we had little or no money, and everything I'd worked towards in the years before , building an alternative way of living, living,working and making decisions together in a fair and communal way , all of that was gone, and on top of that I had to move out of the one place I'd found that I could be free enough to paint in. these are the last few paintings I made before I left.
I'd started looking at trees and leaves during the abandoned project with Kieran, the above is just drawn outlines filled in with paint , in no particular order . Whilst living at the farm we also kept goats , and slaughtered the excess males , I used one of the trees to gut and skin them after slaughter , the tree was a chestnut tree and so I took some of the Leaves and made these final two paintings.
Its a hint of a direction I could have taken , but more than anything what governs my output as a painter is a sense of home and certainty of safety . Or put more bluntly , If I'm not happy where I am I can't paint, something it took me a long while to realise.
So after moving to Doorey , making the house fit to live in ( originally there was no bathroom, toilet or hot water, oh yes and we no longer had a car ) I suddenly found I was to stressed to paint , had no money for materials , oh yes and my relationship with my then partner was rapidly falling apart . It was at that low point that I decided , because of constant arguments over money and my partner wondering why any of my belongings were in the house at all , I decided to give up painting and go out and find a paying job . In retrospect one of the biggest mistakes I have ever made , but really I had completely lost myself and thought I had to ' Grow up' and join the adult world of responsibility . It took me another eight years to get back to painting properly and also to find myself again.