This is a short story: the birth and life of an oil painting, which was begun twenty years ago and only just ceased to drip.
In 1967 my parents and my siblings moved to the Isle of Wight to take over a boat-building business that consisted of one man building fibreglass boats in an old army drill hall. The gentleman’s name was Copeland, and the company was named Copeland Boats.
I was born in the boat factory.
My parents worked hard growing the family and the boat building business; both projects grew and flourished in interesting directions.
Thirty years later, that same boat factory, which by then had stopped building boats, became my art studio. An incredible space to work in, full of equipment, materials and dust, also enormous and able to accommodate any amount of experimental, gestural oil painting you could throw at it.
During that time I had a habit, a way of seeing my work from above. I would climb up a very tall ladder to see my canvas from a distance, with pools and swathes of oil paint on the factory floor.
This climbing high had a twin benefit that affected the content of the painting. At the top of the ladder, I could stick my head right out of a skylight breaching the factory ceiling for a panoramic view. Sky and sea. An enormously long stretch of horizon. So long that it seemed I could see the curvature of the earth. A timeless feeling.
This oil painting took another twenty years to stop moving and forming itself, this materially slow quality is evident when you see it in person and central to its power as a painting.
Evo, 2003 oil on canvas, 120 x 150 cm