In April, on a sunny day, I sat amongst the spring flowers on the ancient processional way from Athens to Eleusis looking towards the great acropolis surrounded by bees, butterflies, swooping swallows and the memorials to long dead Athenians. I stayed for several hours absorbing the atmosphere almost alone as the hordes of tourists swarmed over the more famous sites nearby – a magical peaceful place in a teeming city.
It has taken me many months to begin to get a way of approaching that wonderful experience. The problem is how to interpret in paint the feeling of being there? I did not want to paint a pretty picture of the scene like my ‘on the spot’ sketches but rather explore how to catch a sense of place in a more abstract way. I recently re-discovered the abstract expressionist work of Joan Mitchell and, inspired by her approach, a couple of months ago I started this 1×2 metre triptych. It is an ongoing struggle, part of my odyssey towards abstraction whilst trying to keep a sense of the original focus of inspiration. At present it has got a bit stiff but it is at least moving forward and that is all an artist can ask for!
If you want to see this painting and some of my other work, my artist wife Viv and I have an ‘Open Studios’ at our home on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th of December from 11am to 4pm at 7 Hythe Road (just off Grand Avenue), in Worthing BN11 5DA.