03 November 2023

Why I painted the Yellow Vase

One of the questions I am most frequently asked is “where do you get your ideas?” This is not always easy to answer as there are so many reasons to make a painting. Sometimes I hear a chance phrase in a conversation or on the radio that sounds like a good title. Other times I decide, for whatever reason, that I’d really like to paint a specific subject. And sometimes I have a blank canvas – and a mind to match. 

When that happens, I remember the advice I used to give my painting students: “Look out the window”. This was one of those occasions. Here is the view from my studio window. I should have washed the window before I took the photo.

My father used to hoard stuff; there is a lot more of it lying around than is obvious here. 

I began blocking out a design, and once I started putting paint on canvas ideas began to form.

I decided I wanted a sense of space and distance and I needed some figures. The blue thing on top of the pile of rusting junk is an industrial-size light shade from some long-forgotten factory, so a slightly differently shaped light shade and a splash of blue got into the picture. Some bright yellow was needed to provide a point of contrast, then it was a case of adjusting shapes and colours until I was happy with the way they worked together. And quite a long time later this was the result.

Yellow Vase  oil on canvas 84 cm x 84 cm completed 20 October 2023

This afternoon I delivered it to Nolan Art Gallery in the Salamanca Arts Centre, where you can see it for the next month or so.

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