Although for the past two and a half months I have been developing a work of conceptual art I occasionally begin or re-address an oil painting. I returned recently to look again at a painting I had begun of Jo. One way I had resolved the problem of grappling with infinity in relation to making art was to focus on the things I know (with at least some certainty) and with which I have direct experience.
I know Jo well. I know that she appreciates a whole range of types and styles of art and that she also respects the traditions of art. She likes fashion, as well as interior design and she also does very practical things including upholstery. She also likes colour – in all its hues and tints. Finally, she has a ready smile.
So I decided to invite her to adopt a rather formal (almost classical) pose and to be seated on a particular chair that she had carefully restored and then re-upholstered. By intention there is a ‘retro’ feel to the painting. It deliberately sets out to look back into the past but there are some obvious signs of an idiosyncratic contemporary mood. The angles lend a strangeness to the composition. Overall I am confident that the painting reflects something of her nature.
In fact, I am fairly pleased with the result because I think the painting expresses some of her qualities and values.