The Hastings Net Shops, Waterloo Bridge, the start of the year…

“Hastings Skyline No.1 – The Net Shops” (Jan 2020) – The ongoing matter of looking up, acrylic on canvas, 20cm x 20cm

The ongoing matter of looking up at skylines has kind of taken a slightly brutalist path in recent times, not that those beautiful Net Shops on Hastings seafront are in any way brutalist, been intending to paint those tall net houses since I first saw them and drew them during an Art Car Boot Fair visit three of four years back. The series of paintings have kind of evolved and become as much about the brutalist edges or the stories of the women who built Waterloo Bridge, did you know Waterloo Bridge was pretty much built by women? Actually I don’t suppose the recent paintings from the Penistone Line were that brutalist either but I do find myself looking for those sharp concrete edges of places like the Southbank Centre now – and yes in answer to a question someone asked when try to get me to paint a particular building for them, it really does need to be somewhere or something that means something to me, I mean you could maybe persuade me or introduce me to a particular place or a building or the view beyond that building, it is very easy to have something pointed out to you that you hadn’t really looked at before.

“London Skyline – The Southbank from Waterloo Bridge (No1)” – January 2020, acrylic on canvas, 20cm x 20cm.

By my standards January really wasn’t the productive, I could blame the light or the weather but that hasn’t really stopped things in previous years, it could well be connected to the clouds of the election result and the divisions of Brexit as much as the actual clouds blocking out the light, as much as I agree with the Other Sean about art being, on the whole, a force for good, and yes art probably is needed more than ever in times like these, it is harder to just paint with these clouds and everything else that pecks away when you’re just trying to clear your head and put paint on canvas. I did leave some leaves at the start of the year, art drops on the walls of Brick Lane but that somehow felt like repeating previous steps, this already done in a previous decade, and yes it is true that a lot of this year so far has been taken up by Cultivate activity and the curation of shows and the herding of fellow artists and one last month-long Cultivate Columbia Road take over at Shipton Street before another gallery space is lost, there is an awful amount of work involved in the pulling together of shows and the herding of artists and the chasing of art and the juggling of finance and the rest of it and yes, we are taking over that beautiful East London space for one last time for the month of March. By my standards January really wasn’t the productive, bring on February and March, bring on the green shoots, the buds, bring on the squares and insert your own title here…