Yesterday, for what must be the umpteenth time over the years, I was asked this question. ’How do you do these paintings if you can’t see very much?’ And in all fairness, it’s a good question to ask ….and a very difficult one to answer, especially when I peer around my studio at the, (for me) fuzzy blobs on the wall that are my paintings, or when I remember just the other day, walking down High Street in Irvine trying to find a shop ….and walking instead into a very solid electrical box mounted on the pavement…..or talking to our cat only to find out I’ve been talking to my Welly boots! Yes, it’s a very good question and one that I ask myself sometimes too.
Last evening for instance, I was sat in my rocking chair down at the studio, scribbling away at some small drawings in a sketch book. I was getting quite frustrated at just how difficult it was getting. Only a few years ago I could still scribble with a little bit of accuracy using a fine drawing pen. Now, sat in the same chair with the same size small six inch square sketch book and an 8B graphite pencil I was struggling to make out what I was doing. But it didn’t matter …..I was still drawing, even if in a slightly different manner from a few years ago. I could still make out the gist of it and if I photographed the small drawings I could then see them on my computer screen using the screen magnification software…..and if needed, print them up to a size that I could use and see more clearly.
Like everything I do these days, it’s just a question of adapting…..of thinking my way around the problem of how to do something rather than stopping because the way I used to work is no longer feasible.
So then, the answer to that inevitable question is that over the years I’ve just very gradually adapted my ways of working to the level of sight I have. My work is as it is, because of this process, but I like to think too, that it is as it is, primarily, because I’m quite good at what I do ….being a painter that is! The three little scribbled drawings shown here are not me at my best, but they are part of the process that leads to the better work.