Wednesday, 21 May 2008


Yesterday I finished the nude that I've been working on with my model for the last month.

You have no idea how difficult I found it to type the word 'finished'.

My paintings change and develop in such a way that marks are added and taken away all the time. This means that in moving a painting forward towards completion I have to take risks.

Sometimes I lose aspects of a painting which I really like. So the process of creation also involves destruction. This can mean being ruthless. If you insist on retaining marks, aspects and features that you like and feel comfortable with, your painting will never improve and develop.

Here I wanted to keep the painting loose in style, as I felt the pose suggested some movement, although the model actually held her pose beautifully still.

The paradox is that I'm really pleased with this finished painting, but at the same time I know I lost great elements within it during the process of painting it. Equally, I could be tempted to continue with it for another session or two - but my judgement is that where it is now is 'finished'. Deciding when that moment has arrived is one of the most difficult decisions I have to make as an artist, and I am often wracked with doubt.

One of the really positive aspects of finishing a painting like this is that it has really inspired me to leap straight into the next nude. It has been such an stimulating process, from which I've learned so much, that I'm really eager to consolidate this by moving on to the next canvas and pose.

So, sometimes my sense of achievement is not only about having a 'finished' painting, but about what I am taking from that painting into the next one.