Sunday Supplement: Road Traffic Control
In the continued spirit of the Sunday Supplement’s exploration of some of my more detailed non-Norm work, this Sunday I am presenting a painting which I literally finished two days ago, having been working on it on and off since the first week of October: Road Traffic Control (Autumn in Richmond Park). The work was inspired by an early autumn day in Richmond Park – it was in fact the day of the mini heat wave in the UK with temperatures of 29 degrees on 1 October. This made for the rare sensation of feeling summer on the skin, but with the eyes seeing autumn hues bathed in glorious sunlight. It made for wonderful visual results in Richmond Park, which is in itself a unique and vast bucolic landscape in amongst the urban jungle that is London surrounding it. As soon as I got home, I started work on this canvas.
The scene is typical of the beauty of autumn: fallen amber-coloured leaves, conkers and acorns shine amidst sporadic grass shoots and forest mushrooms. Above, the sunlight dapples upon the rough tree bark, and forest ferns grow intermittently with long golden grasses. But at the heart of the painting is a traffic cone, rudely invading the scene. Almost as though attempting to circumvent the intrusion within nature, a glass cloche has been placed over it. Or has it been placed under the cloche to protect it from fallen acorns? I’m a believer in free interpretation in art. However, to an extent the image reflects my disappointment that so many busy roads have been allowed to cut through the otherwise wide pastures of Richmond Park, where deer roam free as though you are in the middle of the countryside. The image entered my head, as do many images which eventually appear on my canvases, and I felt inspired to paint it. However, the presence of traffic cones in my work is not new…
The first is from my accident collection, a series of ten paintings which I painted in order to cope with the serious effects of orthopaedic injuries I sustained in a road traffic accident in 2008. The presence of road traffic furniture in such a painting is perhaps obvious and in need of no further explanation.
The second is my 2011 interpretation of the “Semana Santa” Easter parades which can be found resolutely observed in every town across southern Spain. The parades, which represent stunning visual manifestations of the Easter story, are uniquely Spanish, macabre and moving. It was the pointy hats of the nazareños (some people think they look like KKK hats, however the Easter parades came first) that inspired me to paint them as floating traffic cones, while my use of road signs is specifically designed to represent the figures of Jesus and Mary whose statues would ordinarily appear in the parade.
I leave you now to enjoy Sunday coffees and festive cheer as the Sundays draw in and Christmas approaches. Here, to go with your coffee, is a final gallery of some details of the Richmond Park work. Enjoy, and remember to look out for the Daily Norm over the next week…it’s turning festive!
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