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In the dark of Night

I wanted to delve a little deeper in to each segment of the work for my solo show.. Night is where it started, that's is where I’ll begin now.

Night is something of a romantic concept that you are very familiar with as a teen. Then it gradually recedes in to the background as something you sleep through, until you reach a point in life where sleep is by no means guaranteed ( I’m saying you, here, but I hope you get I mean me)

But it’s a thing that I’ve become aware of, particularly talking to female friends of the middle aged persuasion, that 3 am is no longer the preserves of a wild night out. Instead, it’s when you wake, full bladdered, nip to the loo or try and ignore it, and fervently wish you’ll get back to sleep. Sometimes, mebbe, sometimes naw.

Given that, it’s a time of day I can learn to love or I can hate.. either way, I’m going to be seeing a lot more of it. I’m no good at lying still. I can do it for 30 minutes, an hour tops. Then I have to get up, make a coffee, sit outside and feel the night air. Look with my short sighted eyes at the stars. Hear the waves which sometimes are a distant roar, sometimes sound like they are crashing at the bottom of the garden. Listen to the odd fox, the occasional owl.

It’s still as magical as it was, 14 years old, sneaking out my bedroom window to go for barefoot walks through the small town we lived in, desperate for adventure, for difference, for change. (Pity my poor parents).

It’s illicit, it’s thrilling, and it’s the height of solitude. And solitude, for me at least, so often means solace. The moments when it’s just you and the abyss… there’s a calm in that. A beauty. And while I may be grown up enough to regret ahead of time the tiredness that will dog me through the next day, I can never entirely regret the oneness, the stillness of sitting, just sitting, alone in the night.

I think, for other parts of the show, I can talk about individual paintings – but for these – they spilled out all at once, so fast, one sliding effortlessly into the next – they are all of a piece – one big homage to the night, and the occasional light from star or moon or reflected through clouds that illuminates the night and takes it down from to terrifying to comforting and enfolding.

I loved painting this series so much. When you hit the flow state, as an artist, it’s nirvana. I feel guilt for it being too easy in a way.. but that’s what happens when you hit the sweet spot of having something you want to express, without even knowing you wanted to express it, and having the experience to just say it without stopping to second guess or doubt or quibble if this brush stroke or that was in the right place. It doesn’t often happen like that, but when it does.. I hope they all find new homes, of course, but the point was making them, not where they end up. And making them was joyous.

All these paintings are available through The Torrance Gallery as part of my Jan 2022 solos show, 'Night, Dawn, Day, Dusk' - If any of them speak to you, I'd love to hear bout it in the comments xx

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