I'm thrilled to launch my new collection, "DARK NIGHT", which has been in the making since the autumn of 2020. This has been a challenging collection for me, painting subjects that are very different from my usual nature-inspired scenes and outdoor paintings, but it has also been very rewarding.
Due to the heavy black paint and metallics that feature through all of the paintings and tie them all together, combined with the stories and mysteries that each image holds, the overall impact of this collection displayed together is quite powerful.
The purpose of "Dark Night":
I set out to create a collection that would represent a time of sadness, darkness and loneliness. I always knew I wanted to start a project like this, but as with everything, timing is key and it was only after the summer of this year that I felt like it would be a good time. Subjects like this don't always work when they are out of context, so I wanted to do it at a time when it made sense. I feel like most people have experienced somewhat of a hard time through 2020, and maybe even more now, trying to start a new year with the all the baggage still on our shoulders, so I'm hoping that people will be able to understand these paintings and hopefully find some comfort from them. For me at least, painful emotions cannot be ignored, so I would rather face them head on and try to see the beauty in them - which I know is not easy when you're in the thick of it.
That is the purpose of "Dark Night". To be able to look at these paintings that are dark and quiet, and be able to see how beautiful the situation is. I love the term "Dark Night" for describing all this, because a night is a temporary state, and the dawn of a new morning is certainly coming.
Symbolism in "Dark Night"
Lights: Every painting from this collection features some kind of light, whether that be a ceiling light, a lamp, a candle etc. The lights represent the hopes, which carry us through a time like this. The reason we can survive the darkest of times, is the belief, no matter how small that belief, that one day things will be better, that things will be okay, and that the night will end. These hopes are very much attached to the future, because chances are, right now you can't see a way out and you'd be right. There is no 'way out' but a 'way through'. The light gives us just enough vision to be able to move forward and find our way.
Scribbles/ hand-writing: All of my artwork features scribbly lines and expressive mark-making, but the dark-night collection in particular features a lot of hand-writing, like an old-fashioned letter written on the artwork. I feel like when your feeling low, it can be hard to express how you feel verbally, but you actually have so many words and things you want to say building up inside. So many people find that it actually comes out in writing, whether that be a journal, song or poem.
In my painting "5:30 AM" you can see sheets of paper with writing on scattered beneath the window, and also these same sheets are placed above the piano in "Unexpected Keys". For me, this represents how I find writing songs to be a way of expressing how I feel when I'm sad.
These scribbles and writing across the artwork represent all those words that aren't said out loud, but find their way out into the world through creative means.
The importance of time:
In this collection, time plays an important role. Since all the paintings come together to tell a story over a single night, each one represents it's own time in that night.
We have all heard the phrase "time flies when you're having fun" which I personally know to be true for my life. You don't even think about the time - why would you need to? It's so easy to be "present" when the present is comfortable and happy. The opposite of this is also true though. Time is desperately slow when you're not having fun, and it can be all you think about. It's always "when will things change", "when will I be okay". It's okay to just live for a future where you believe you'll have peace and joy again, it's how you get through, but it just means that you're waiting. Waiting is always horrible, and waiting looks like watching another hour on the clock go by, marking another day of the calendar, writing unfulfilled new years resolutions year after year wondering when.
Many of the paintings in dark night are linked together by a hidden connection somewhere in the painting, or in the title of the painting. Like I said earlier with the sheets of writing present in both "Unexpected Keys" and "5:30 AM".
1. The light in "Hand-crafted Tears" is seen in "Nobody's home" in the top right corner.
2. "Nobody's home" is the inside perspective of the hut in the woods from "Dark-Night"
3. The final painting in this collection is titled "Access" which links to the previous title "Unexpected Keys". This is because I believe going through a hard time, does give you access to places you couldn't go to before, and it's in the creativity of expressing your emotions that gives you the key to unlock that place.
Locations and Imagery:
There seem to be two locations in the dark night collection, with half the paintings based in a dark woodland/countryside, and some based in a city. This was not intentional at all, but I think it's definitely a reflection of a stage in my life where I felt torn between two worlds, unable to settle in either one.
The majority of paintings are coming from the perspective of being inside, looking out. Lots of window views, and stationary objects from inside the house. I wanted to create this overall effect of being hidden away, watching the world from a window, but feeling unable to step out and actually be a part of it. You'll notice that every window has a candle by it, which like I said earlier, represents the hopes and dreams of what could be.
I think windows create a really special atmosphere, as it sort of represents the idea of sitting, looking out and watching the world go by. Reflecting on the way life is - almost looking out for an answer to everything.
The addition of nature:
Originally, I was only going to paint scenes from inside the house, but as the collection developed I remembered that there are so many metaphors in nature, for things we experience in our lives. My faith means that I believe that God created this world, and so I know that when I see the beauty of nature, there is more than meets the eye. Just like my art, there is the beauty on the surface, and then there is the message, the meaning and the spirit behind it. There is a message in the way a rose blooms, there is a message and a deepness in the way the seasons change. You can feel this in your soul whether you believe in it or not.
So I allowed nature to come into this collection because it spoke to me and helped me to understand this season of my life, and I want it to do the same for others.
Techniques & Processes used in the making of the Dark Night Artwork
Dark Night was a mixture of planned work, inspired by photography and experimental work painted from my imagination, some a mixture of both. It has been a challenge to find the balance between creating something dark, but still making it colourful and beautiful for hanging in the home. I can honestly say, I have never used so much black paint in my life!
The main colour scheme I used was the combination of metallic golds on top of black, which is very dramatic and definitely one of my favourite combinations.
For the most part, my process was to first find imagery that inspired me, so if I was on a walk I'd be looking around for things that capture my eye, or when it got dark in the evenings, I'd just stroll around the house looking for objects that looked a certain way.
Then when painting, I would just keep adding bits until it looked the way I wanted it to. I don't tend to think too hard about the process, I just let it come out naturally.
DARK NIGHT in the home:
Hopefully after getting to this point, you'll know if 'Dark Night' is the collection for you, and whether you would want an original from this collection in your home. What the paintings from this series bring, when hung on the wall in your space, is the opportunity to physically see the beauty in your struggles and pain. To bring comfort in knowing that by going through what you're going through, you are gaining access to something that you could never have had before. I don't want you to hang the painting up and have it make you feel sad. I want it to make you feel understood.
Visually, they are of course, dark, but carry little pops of colour that really stand out when the sun shines bright. Also, they are full of textured metallic golds and silver accents, which really cut through the darkness and make them shine.
From an interior design perspective, the best way to hang and showcase these paintings is to find a room with lots of space. They are dark, and carry a presence, so in the wrong room, they can be a little oppressive. The brighter/bigger the room, the better!
All this being said though, I believe each painting is meant for a specific person, so whether or not you have the 'perfect' space for it, if you feel a strong connection with a painting, then you must have it! If it's right for you, the perfect space will appear for it.
There are a variety of sizes, from little 20 x 20 cm squares to the giant 100 x 150 cm one shown in the image above. If you are unsure if a piece would work in your home, I'd love to help, so let me know and I can create a mock-up of the painting in your own home to give you a visual idea of what it would look like. Also, when lockdown restrictions ease, you can always book a time to see the work in the flesh. I may even be able to host an exhibition for them, which would be amazing!
The small 20 x 20 cm paintings from dark night, have been professionally framed in modern black floater frames, with hanging attachment on the back, so they are ready to hang immediately, and look really smart. This is the first time I have ever got my canvases framed professionally, so it's very exciting for me! I wanted to frame the smaller paintings specifically because the imagery is very important, and I really wanted to emphasise the dramatic effect of them.
The rest will be as they are, unframed, but if you would like to get them framed in this way, please get in touch and we can arrange that.
They have all been varnished to protect the paintwork, and signed front and back. They will all arrive with a certificate of authenticity too, which just proves that they are an original.
More from "DARK NIGHT"
So this is just part 1 of the introduction of 'dark night.' In part 2, I go through the meaning behind each individual painting in time order - like a written exhibition. To read part 2, click here:
If you are interested in seeing the photography used to inspire the paintings from dark night, click here:
Lastly, I will be launching this collection with a virtual exhibition on the 19th February 2021. It will premier at 7:00 PM, so you can watch it live with others and comment and ask any questions about it with me afterwards.
The work will be up on my website the next day, Saturday 20th at 10:00AM, available to purchase. My mailing list subscribers get 24 hour early access, so if you are keen to reserve work, make sure you sign up!
Thank you so much for reading this post, and I can't wait to share this collection with you.