BARNFIELDS ICON

On my BBC Mid-Wales ‘Artist Profiles’ site someone from Swansea posted a comment saying they would like to speak to the artist about the paintings he saw. That made me think it would be good to comment on some of my paintings. Often it is only when we talk about things that we begin to understand the ‘whys’ ourselves.

BARNFIELDS ICON – this was painted following a discovery of a field on one of my morning walks. The field it seems is at the end of an old public pathway that weaves its way through what is now an ever-growing housing estate.
I had planned to use this special field above Newtown to paint the passing seasons. It was like a special gift, so close to home and yet apparently in the depths of the country, affording wonderful views.
In iconography gold is the colour of heaven. The reason for using gold in this painting was simple. Many people say that there are places that are special to them. The Celtic saints said that there were special places where the veil of heaven was very thin. This place for me was one of them.
Gold is the colour of the sacred but it is also reflective turning things back on ourselves.
I had thought of painting a series where for me the veil was thin.
I knew that these special sites are often under threat. ‘My field’ I thought was safe from the devouring builders, ever encroaching diggers.
The gold was symbolic of the sacred, the red a symbol of life … one of my favourite verses is ‘I am come that you might have life’ … ‘life in all abundance’… this place had both.
A few months ago I visited ‘my field’ again only to find that the beautiful, bird filled hawthorn hedge (bird motorway) had been torn down by yet another housing estate. Houses, diggers and noise had broken down the view that seemed to forever stand above the town.
Maybe, just maybe nature will again recover itself over the years recovering a very special view.

The simplicity of the painting was difficult to handle. The natural tendency is to want to do more, to add, to touch up and sharpen. After many days of looking I decided to sign the painting. This is often a decision point for artists when they say ‘it’s finished – the end – no more work – leave alone!’. It is a place of unbelievable relief.


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