“How do you decide what to paint?”
Like a lot of the questions you get from ten-year-olds, a good one. Like most good questions, it gets a shrug, a bit of eye-rolling. “Dunno,” if you’re lucky. All sorts of things can set it off: a theme, an idea, a photograph, something random seen out of the corner of the eye . As a last resort, just start moving paint about while waiting for a plan to catch up.
There are a few things I’m reliably interested in – electrical components, fruit and flowers, architectural details like doors and roof lines, bright colours on a dark background. I prefer fragments and I like to use and often exaggerate the distortions of lenses.
A picture gets a title but not an explanation. If you want an allegory, bring your own. For an exhibition, I will work on a theme but otherwise there is rarely a plan. In theory, painting something once will teach me how to do it better, next time; in practice I rarely repeat them. There is never enough time, the backlist of things I will get around to eventually is always growing. It’s like books: at some point, you have to accept that you can never read them all, aim for the ones that serve you best.
So, now that Spring is coming, what next? Er… not sure.