"Renewal, Market Square East, Lisburn, N. Ireland", June-Oct 2013.
Oils on canvas, 50cm x 70cm.
The painting shows an area of Lisburn from just outside the door to the studios in Lisburn. I worked on this from observation, approximately for two or three hours, three times a week, over the summer. It took a long time to do because of the detail, which I felt was important for this painting.
Because of the depression, many businesses in Lisburn have been experiencing difficult times, reflected in the number of empty commercial premises to the right. But the city has also been going through a process of renewal. Bridge Street, the road straight ahead, was falling into dereliction, but has now had many of its buildings renovated. As demonstrated by the posters, the city has been making considerable efforts to promote itself. However, that was not really why I particularly wanted to do this painting. I am interested in the nature of reality and painting from observation represents a conversation between myself and the subject being observed.
The most common remark I had from onlookers was that the painting was beautiful, that it was just like a photograph! But that misses the point! What is important is why the painting is NOT like a photograph - because of the distortions that crept in quite automatically through the deliberate act of working directly from observation, because of the changing and enhancement of color that came about from the act of concentration! As a result, the painting represents how the scene was experienced, rather than merely being a record of what was there! The same reasoning applies to the most important painting that I did last year, of the "Farriers", who are local musicians.
"Farriers", October-November 2012.
Oils on canvas, 76cm x 102cm.
I attended a concert of theirs, where I was able to make some sketches and take some photographs. But whilst the painting illustrates moments from the concert, it also includes images from a previous performance that I had already tried to create a painting from and which I had to abandon.