Monday, 25 May 2009

Paintings with ghosts - not for free

There are two paintings in the exhibition that give me goosebumps. Not in a good way. One's up on the wall, the other one is in my portfolio. The one on the wall is an obvious one. She stares at you, supposedly all serene - but OMG - she is standing on so many fishes and not in a good way.

The other one I had forgotten about. Forgotten about until I was going to sell that drawing twice over. One of our postgrads had bought it and another one was drawn to it too and indeed upset that it wasn't available anymore.

Fields in December 1, mixed media on paper, 52x40cm

So I told her a story - the story of the painting or rather what lies at the centre of it.

I drew it as one of my first attempts to develop the initial sketches from the fields around my parents' place 18 months ago. It's the first one of a set of two - two different scenes. It's a composition that intrigued me first off - I like it a lot, its intersecting fieldlines, different winter coloured fields and just on the horizon line the birches along the road to Schweimke.

The drawings - with acrylic inks, a bit of acrylic paint and graphite ended up being harsh and almost monochrome. I moved to more colour. But at some stage a couple of weeks later I wrote long lines of associations for these two scenes.

Well, and it made me realise that at the heart of this one, there a three deaths, a few years apart.

My granny with the travel bug was dying slowly throughout 1992. The night she finally did, we slept while a friend of mine, a couple of years older than me, had a car accident. He crashed his car on this early December night, 500 meters from our house in the early hours of the morning. He was drunk. No one found him, those 500 meters away from our house and the village. So he died the same night as my granny. At the point where the sky meets the horizon line, right at the centre of the painting.

Beyond the horizon line are the moors. (Thinking about it, the village is surrounded by eerie places - if you remember the Bull's Hollow.) My neighbour, who prefers ploughing his land while drunk to sex (well, almost) had a brother. He was a few years older than him, probably about 10 years older than I. A, the brother was away a lot for all the time I lived next to him; away in hospital for treatment of his depression. When he was home, he would go for walks, long walks around the fields.

I can't remember talking to him ever, he was just this intensely sad and lonely figure to walk the fields. His depression was the first I ever encountered, it frightened the live out of me and so did he. I couldn't comprehend it and just felt engulfed by it whenever I would see him in the distance. One day, a few years after I moved away, he would not return from one of his walks. Instead, another neighbour would find him on a rope somewhere in the moors. Across the horizon line to the right.

Now, they are the ghosts that look at me from that painting. I know they are there.

I told B the stories and so she decided she preferred the other one; and I sold both. Now: the other one has a lot of stories too, they are fabulous ones: of friends, parties, nights out and the road out of the village. It's the scene I love most of all of those fields, so there are many paintings of it.

Fields in December 2, mixed media on paper, 52x40cm

There is none more of the road to Schweimke. I think one ought to be careful with those ghosts, not?!