So, now I find myself in year in to my new life in Edinburgh. Catie has moved up and is also painting and teaching. My job role at eca has been fluid flexible and quite demanding. But, I am still managing to paint as I have finally realised that I have to use most of my available free time to make art if I am ever going to develop. This has meant far fewer opportunities to see family and friends and far less gallivanting across the country or abroad.
From the period I moved to Leith with Catie, I have solely used the interior of our rented Georgian townhouse flat as a backdrop for subject matter. I have done more direct observational drawing and painting than I have since I was a student, and I have learned so much by doing so. I think it has recharged my pictorial armoury and freed me from the often-tiresome need for inventing compositional devices. Using a combination of biographical with observed topographical elements has allowed me to reflect on a more explicit portrait of my new life with Catie. While I have maintained my gut need for flippancy and irony in the use of a collection of soft toy animals, I am trying to evoke a greater depth of time and place.
Most recently, I have completed a large two panel portrait of Catie with our soft toys (the bears)! Revealing the exuberant and delightful space we live in. The carrot for this was to enter the BP portrait award. While I am pleased with the ambition of the picture and its sense of place, I am not sure whether it works on the level of a portrait and I am not optimistic that it will be successful in being accepted for the show.
Here are eight stages of the portrait which I did almost entirely from working in situ over about 5 weekends.