My head is so full of images and memories that there is no one word or phrase which can sum up my current state of mind – hence untitled.

My last few days in Ireland passed in a whirlwind of activity. From Cork, via childhood haunts of Youghal and Ardmore, to Dublin where I overdosed on stunning contemporary art for two days. Everywhere I went I saw original art. Two huge William Scott’s and a Sean Scully in the Merrion Hotel, Barrie Cooke in the Shelburne, Nigel Rolfe in the Irish Museum of Modern Art. In the Hugh Lane Gallery there was a whole room of Scully and Impressionists alongside people like Roderick O’Connor and Jack Yeats. There was good stuff at the Commercial Galleries too. I barely scratched the surface of what was on show. But I needed to come home.

Back in the studio after sorting out the things that needed most urgent attention, and placating my Irish Setter who didn’t seem to have missed me half as much as I missed her, I started two new paintings – absorbing the memories of rain soaked skies and seas. I concentrated on colour greys, introducing Burnt Sienna in place of my usual Raw Umber to get a warmer tone.

I started on a drawing – thinking about choughs’ wings. The initial marks, taken from a sketchbook drawing (in the Choughs and Hooded Crows post) were very ‘squiggly’; then I started to unravel the squiggles so that they started to move across the surface of the paper. Not sure where this drawing is going, but is is moving very fast and more freely. More to do on this.

I am beginning to love the mists of colour greys that I am building up on canvas. These small paintings are at a very early stage – the posted images are small details – and I am starting to add some charcoal lines which will probably get lost as I add more paint.

The next two drawings mix memories of walks and the spikiness which has crept into the work. I keep moving between the paintings and the drawings and in between times extracting little bits and playing around with them in ink or pencil in sketchbooks. Advancing slowly on a number of different ideas and trying to keep them separate and yet connected, this is going to be a long, contemplative process.


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