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Portsmouth Exhibition: "Encounter"

I confess that I had a completely different painting in mind when I initially handed in the title for the artwork I wanted to exhibit in Portsmouth Cathedral...

I had been working on a large canvas on and off for months, when an image began to emerge that expressed a sense of timelessness, peace and mystery. "Encounter" seemed to capture best what I was experiencing. (When I am working intuitively, the title for a piece often emerges during the painting process.)

However, when the painting neared completion, I discovered that I had previously glazed my canvas with oil. I had applied several layers of water-based eco household paints on top of the glaze. A painting becomes unstable over time when water-based paints are used on top of oil, so I had to abandon my canvas a few days before hand-in day...

I now needed another painting that could fit the title "Encounter. I find it impossible to recreate a work that is born out of intuition, so I did not even try.

I found a small canvas that I had provisionally titled "Burning bush moments". (I often ponder the Celtic concept of "thin places", i.e. places where the material dimension and non-material or spiritual dimension seem to overlap.)

I decided to mount the canvas in a large floating frame and to paint the mountboard to add a sense of mystery and weight.

However, once the background was painted, I was reluctant to let large sections of it disappear behind a canvas...

That background became the unexpected launching place for the painting that now hangs in Portsmouth Cathedral.

A friend has asked me whether the "Encounter" painting represents my new style. It's too early to answer this - I have not yet had time to ponder what I have been painting.

Both the painting and the process of arriving at the painting have taken me by surprise.


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