As so often happens after working in such a focussed (and blinkered) way toward an exhibition deadline; I have hit a bit of a painting block. This is very much a practical rather than inspirational block. I have lots of ideas but currently lack the energy to throw into making them a practical reality.
My new body of work is going to be based on the urban environment in which I grew-up and now still live and work. I have been looking at, and reading, lots of local history books over the past year for inspiration. Now is the time to try and develop these ideas into actual paintings.
Until I started getting interested in local history I did not realise what great buildings had been demolished in the city centre to make way for the environment that I have always known. It was with a youthful innocence and ignorance that I so readily accepted the city centre for what it is without questioning what might have been there before.
With hindsight it is obvious that some of the redevelopment was questionable, although probably mostly necessary to allow the city to develop and thrive as the needs of the residents evolved. There is currently a lot of regeneration work happening again, some of which I think is definitely for the best, whilst other things appear to be very much repeating mistakes that have been made by town planners in the past.
Continuing with the challenge of presenting two different periods of time and space within one canvas, I am hoping to juxtapose and interlink selected scenes from the city past and present. I am not entirely sure how this is going to be achieved yet, but part of the fun is battling with the paintings until I find out. There are bound to be failures along the way but that is what keeps it interesting.
Some of the places I have been looking at as potential staring points for the paintings include:
The former Thomas Cook Granby Street Commercial Temperance Hotel
A multi-story block of flats; previously the site of a fantastic looking hotel and shops
View of Horsefair Street and the approach to the Town Hall