The Wine Cellar of the Mind

  –  Upon entering my studio one night, I sat for a while in the dark. There was no ambient light, I could see very little of anything. 

Flat Studio, oil on canvas, 64" x 70", 1988
Flat Studio, oil on canvas, 64" x 70", 1988

While I sat there in the dark, I had the feeling that there was a presence. It was as if I was being watched, as if I were in a jungle and there was a hidden presence observing me – waiting for me to move. Finally, I switched on the lights and the place sprung to life. Paintings finished and  half finished, the paint table in a disorderly mess, my chairs scattered where I had last used them.  It all recorded in my mind like a flash photo.

Images seen are often salted away for years. it is like laying away a fine wine in the cellars of the mind to be opened at the right time. I believe my wine cellar of the mind is full of observations that are aging and waiting for the right moment to be dusted off and opened.

This painting, “Flat Studio”, was hauled up from my mind cellar and recaptures one of those moments very clearly.  There is a  feeling that I could reach into the painting and turn it off. The light has caught all the shapes in the studio by surprise.  They are halted in space with a feeling that the moment you switch off the light, like naughty children at bedtime, they will spring into action. The boxes, pots and brushes jump from the table into the light. Two dark shapes are parted as if to allow more light into the stage set. Easels, ladders, table legs and corners of paintings appearing from behind one another flatten out and try to ward off any attempt of perspective. 

 It was a fine moment that I caught that night and it was stored away in  my mind cellar for ten years or so before I painted “Flat Studio”.

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