Sunday Supplement: La Foret des Jeux / Q4- exploring the subconscious
A sunday supplement focusing on my non-Norm paintings is well overdue I think, and for this weekend’s supplement, I have decided to go with a painting which I created in 2007/8 following something of a recurrent dream. It’s a work which is magical and jovial, surreal and fantastical, and therefore a perfect follow up to the Royal Ballet’s superb performance of The Dream which I saw last Monday.
The works featured today were painted within a short space of one another when I was exploring my subconscious. There are two “places” on which I constantly reflect in my subconscious and as an artist seeking inspiration. Both are imaginary. One is a kind of chic but dilapidated house, quite dark, with heavy damask wall coverings, low lighting, lavish furnishings and a general air of mysterious desertion about it. Out of the window is a city landscape – rooftops – almost certainly Paris, and the weather is bleak, probably autumn, dark. This place is triggered in my imagination by certain things – cool lounge music such as Hotel Costes often does the trick. Often there is no trigger at all – I just find myself transformed there in the middle of a working day. I tried to represent this place in my 2007 canvas, Q4. As with any attempt to drag the subconscious level into everyday language, the task was difficult, and while the painting comes close to creating that place to which my mind wanders, it cannot fully represent the feeling I have when I escape into the realms of my deepest imagination.
The second place I constantly return to in my subconscious is a dark forest on a summer’s night. The forest is full of surreal things, semi-hidden signs of life and a small source of water. It’s a little scary but not intimidating – the forest is hung with paper lanterns, and forest creatures provide a welcome atmosphere to me – the visitor. In seeking to paint this whimsical vision on canvas in La Foret des Jeux (the Forest of Games), I played on the surreal themes which I knew were weaved into my own imaginings. I imported the theme of games – as I had done in previous surreal paintings – and no doubt inspired by the likes of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. I anthropomorphised chess pieces bringing life to the scene – showing the King sitting upon a thrown, the Bishop falling from a tipped bath of water, and the Queen picnicking with her playing Pawn children. There onwards I let my imagination run wild, making for a rather surreal but playful image. It was painted at a time when my imagination was ripe for the picking – I’m not so sure I could paint something like this today.
Wishing you a relaxed and enjoyable Sunday.
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