This is the fourth in a series of 7 paintings I have made for Methodist Conference 2016, an introduction to the series can be found here.
Colour plays an important role in the way that this series of paintings work together. Viewed together the colours progress from cool blues in the outside images through progressively warmer browns and greys to this central image that blossoms with red/orange.
As a painter it’s a useful discipline to work with a limited palette, often one I find hard to keep to. As a painting progresses and I get carried away I reach for tubes of colour from across the spectrum and my initial resolve to be restrained evaporates. But, if I can keep my nerve and stick tightly to three or four initial pigments then this unifies an image and helps to convey a particular mood. You can see this in my painting Slab (2015) where I restricted my palette to Titanium white and Paynes grey, towards the end I had to grit my teeth to resist the urge of adding a few strokes of a bright colour and now I think the painting is stronger for it.
For this central image I wanted to portray Jesus, which is always tricky. The works that I have done in the past for which I have received the most challenge and criticism have been paintings where I have attempted to express my experience of Christ. Our experiences differ; that is to be expected and celebrated. In my view the Methodist Church is at her strongest when we can uphold a broad spectrum of theologies and approaches to Christ whilst also standing together; knowing that we all see and experience in part and can learn from each other as we tell our stories together.
This image, at the apex of the series of paintings, blooms with warmth and light. The gentle and playful breath of a child at once destroys the dandelion clock but in so doing the seedhead achieves its purpose. Light and nimble in the breeze, the seeds find their way at the mercy of unseen currents in the air and eventually some come to rest on fertile ground. Where they fall they grow as weeds unbidden, pushing strong through the cracks in concrete or besmirching a pristine lawn with a bright yellow circle. This is a plant that acts as a mischievous trickster it is uncontrollable and irritating and yet beautiful when seen with the right eyes.
Over the painting I lay a stencil taken from a detail of an icon of the sacred heart of Christ. A heart offered with open hands that bleeds and suffers whilst radiating love.
Painting is for me a way to pray and the work that emerges is a sacrament* of my time in that quiet, sacred place. As I step back from the finished piece I realise that I set out to create a picture of Jesus and I do see Christ here: in the child, in the breath, in the disintegrating seedhead, and in the open hands offering a wounded heart.
*A sacrament is a physical outward sign of an inner, intangible experience.
PRINTS FOR SALE
A limited edition series of A3 size high quality art prints of these are available for purchase signed by the artist. All profits from the sale of prints will go towards funding the creative at 35 Chapel Walk, Sheffield.
Prices: £30 per print or £200 for the full set of 7. This is a strictly limited edition of 25 prints for each painting.
If you are interested in purchasing prints then please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition the framed original paintings are for sale at £425 each.
All views on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Methodist Church