Saturday, 16 February 2013

Beyond the comfort zone.

I have just watched a YouTube video featuring the German artist Georg Baselitz. I was struck by the following things he said "Our yearning needs painting" and "The image must contain something that other paintings have never had. Something that has never yet been seen, that has never been solved. The eye must pursue an idea that has not been pursued, and that mostly means chaos." This strikes a chord with me because I am always striving to find some indefinable other, something beyond the ordinary, in my own and others paintings.

In the odd way that things can lead, these words inspired me to go back and tackle a painting I had shelved, that had pushed me far out of my comfort zone. It is the middle section of an eventual triptych based on a mother and child theme. The first panel will feature the "other mothers" the members of the medical profession you have to accept into your family when you have a disabled child. I hope to depict this with white shapes of nurses and bright red crosses emerging out of a tangle of grey corridors and a background of hospital green. The third panel will contain "the mother" about to step through the hospital curtain that separates her from her child.

Detail of wheel
 In the central panel I have tried to create the initial image I saw in my head of my future, as the consultant said "I'd like you to think about the words cerebral palsy" while he examined my baby daughter. The results of her MRI scan had revealed the extent of the brain hemorrhage she suffered whilst being kept alive in the neonatal ward . I have heard there is a poem about discovering your child will have special needs, likening the experience to being on a plane thinking you are going on holiday to Spain and then discovering you are going to Mexico for example. I like this analogy, it is not what you chose, but you do discover new things that you would never have come across. However, when you first hear about the change of destination, it feels like your plane has been hijacked and you are going to be landing by parachute, without a map or belongings.

Detail of face and arm.
I tried to paint this image without too much emphasis on thinking and let myself be guided more by feeling. I therefore have less idea as to whether the outcome is successful. It is not accurate, it was all about the wheel and a slumping figure of my full-grown child. I tried to disregard the usual warning barriers that spring up and direct me away from a crap result. So here it is, it could be crap or it could be something. There are parts I can take from this that can be used for a further attempt. Here it is:

Oil on canvas. 33 x 41 inch.
Maybe like Baselitz, I should turn it upside down...

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