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Still Lights

The 6 images here are all from photographs I took whilst engaged in the "Still Lights" project, part of the London Arts Innovate programme. The photographs are all taken in my studio at home, and are of the bottles on the shelves and windowsill, or show the light coming through the blinds or casting a shadow on the walls.

I chose to display these 6 photographs as light boxes rather than paintings, as although they were taken at different times through the project, they all have a rather grey, blue or purple tonality running through each one, and seemed to go together as a group. The pictures are designed to be seen like paintings, and in a way are about painting, and my particular way of seeing.

The idea for Still Lights

The idea came about from my practice as a painter. I have for a long time been fascinated by how the reproduction of paintings through slides seemed somehow to heighten the luminosity of the colours and that the enlargement of scale through it's projection would totally change the impact of a painting for the viewer. I began to wonder how I could utilise this intense source of light and playing with scale as part of a piece of work rather than merely as a way of presenting it.

lightboxes in gallery

At the same time I had been hankering to get back to the traditional practice of still life painting. I wanted to get back to the intimacy and simplicity of this timeless form and use it as a way of exploring my own particular vision.

While my individual way of seeing had always affected the way I did my work and what it looked like, such as an emphasis on colour to describe form rather than detail, and choosing simplified compositions and close up objects, I had never been explicit about using the changes in my own vision as the subject matter and starting point for a series of work.

The use of still life was a perfect method for doing this. I was able to work at home, in a tiny room, with just a selection of much - loved coloured glass bottles on the window sill for company and to use as my motifs. I wanted something to paint that was very close - no further than a foot or two away from my face. The glass bottles were a mixture of the singing cobalt blue of Bristol glass, through to scarlet reds or the old lemonade bottles of pale green, the smoky grey of a glass vase or a cloudy white mineral water bottle.

Through these objects I made studies of how the light came through the bottles, or how sometimes in winter light, or because the light was so bright, I could only see the bottles as silhouettes or they almost disappeared against the twilight. Gradually over the months I built up a series of small paintings and pastels.

It was my intention to make slides of these images and display the slides rather than the paintings as light boxes.

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