Hesitation, October 2021
Oil on canvas,
77cms x 102cms x 1.5cms
I tend to over complicate things. Mostly, I don’t see things in black and white, only greys. Being a person who over thinks, I am prone to inaction. After finishing the recent family portrait, I’ve been in that state of overthinking, unable to decide what to paint next. Drawn to several ideas and images, but undecided and unable to progress any idea beyond a thought process. Treading water. It’s like my brain had also followed Canberra into lockdown. I’ve been contemplating what to paint, rather than painting and that’s not useful. That’s like contemplating exercise. Even worse, contemplating starting to exercise.
Better to jump into the deep end and immerse myself in something. Anything. Sink or swim.
As is often the case, as soon as I start, I find myself going with the flow, in that meditative, yet ‘awoken’ mental space that the physicality of painting (and exercise too) brings. It’s like dousing myself in cold water. A baptism of sorts. It’s hard to escape the omnipresent religious, romantic undertones of the ‘spiritual’ in nature. This painting is loosely about that hesitation, the moment before the deep dive (a horrible, much used at the moment expression) and all those other watery analogies. Metaphorically, I am using each brush stroke to wash away my sins, to redeem myself from the lethargy of inaction.
It’s a simple painting. I like the ambiguity of the sand in the painting alluding to a minerality or earthiness of self and the flow of water over this surface, the suggestion being that I am no longer adrift. At least for the duration of painting.