Well now, I love to talk about some of more minimal and considered paintings because they often have a very interesting and involved story to tell. And Celestial Symphony is no exception.
The idea for the painting was conceived around the time that Major Tim Peake blasted off for his stay aboard the International Space Station. The other part of my desire to create this was a book on the cosmos that I had been given as a Christmas present. And what a book it is too!
Let me point out though that this artwork is not supposed to represent any particular celestial body – it’s actually an abstraction of ideas based on things I have seen (primarily in the book). So what we have is a collection of thoughts and observations on things like gas clouds, star nurseries, nebulae and things like that.
I was also of the opinion that I didn’t want to go crazy either; I prefer to let the richness of colour and the merest hint of shapes to be uppermost in my mind when I sketch out the processes required to create it. I have done a similar painting (called We Are All Made Of Stars) but that was a few years ago now. I tend not to get too wound up in creating the same styles as that would make my work boring and predictable. So I break off and change all the time to help keep my mind and my work fresh.
But every so often I like to explore a previously used technique/concept and see where else I can take it. In this instance it was into the realm of colour expression. Or to be more precise – a single colour expression. And for Celestial Symphony I chose burgundy/maroon. Colours that make me feel warm and secure but also a little bit decadent. Anyway, back to the painting.
So this colour is carefully applied and mixed directly on to the surface of the primed canvas sheet. I’m not using any chemicals either – just mildly thinned enamel paint. Into this I have woven a delicate metallic silver, a dash of pink up the side, the tiniest hint of red and a couple of shakes of black. And that’s it until you reach the centre part which is simply a stock white, black grape and a metallic gold.
It is this part that you’re probably going to notice first, fractionally ahead of the silver and then the maroons. It’s a relatively simple series of drops and sweeps; nothing too fancy or wayward – just an evenly balanced series of forms. And that’s really the story of the whole painting. It’s incredibly well behaved and reassuringly composed (no pun intended on the ‘Symphony‘ reference). So I guess if you were to temporarily dismiss the references to space-themed things you could see this as musical notes or dancing or indeed any kind of moving, evolving thing. That’s the brilliant thing about abstract art – it’s your own story, your own interpretation and that belongs to you.
Can’t argue with that.