"Twisted Realism" A visual artist, creating moody black and white tonal drawings in charcoal, pastel and graphite. Inspired by the human figure, story telling and Europe.


Journal Pages from Europe - Vincent's Legacy

Journal entry from European trip 
"It's rained all morning. I'm sitting in this small cafe in Auvers-Sur-Oise and I'm struggling on all sorts of different levels. I'm struggling because of what I've seen this morning. The grave and wheat fields. When you see such an icon, shooting star, giant, reduced to a simple headstone and ivy slab, against some back wall in a remote countryside cemetery, you have to wonder what it's all about.
Even if you make your mark in this lifetime, what does it matter when we all return as dust?
Legacies. Is life really about legacies? What we leave behind.
Songs have been written about this man. Books espouse his tortured brilliance. Pilgrims pay homage to this spot and place small rocks on top of his headstone. We all love Vincent.  Maybe at some very deep level we wish we were like him in some way. His unquenchable need to create and vibrant passion, his selfless compassion for others, his wonderfully enquiring intellect and eloquent way with words, and his ability to live life to the fullest.

These thoughts inspired "Mediocrity or Passion?"

Mediocrity Or Passion?’ (114.5 x 76.5cm) Charcoal, Pastel, Graphite on Paper

A train ride, an hour north of Paris, is a small village called Auvers-Sur-Oise. Vincent spent his final years there. I walked the quiet streets, and found his paintings frozen in the buildings and countryside.
On a hill behind the town was the cemetery. The street sign that pointed to it read, “Les tombes de Theo et Vincent”. Someone had scrawled “Carpe Diem” across it. Eloquent graffiti. 
Rimmed by a high stone wall, the cemetery bore the remnants of those who had given this town its character over many hundreds of years. Against the back wall of the cemetery, stood two small head stones, side by side, barely waste high and sharing one plot. One read, 
ICI Repose
Vincent Van Gogh
That’s all that was written. Beside him his brother Theo. It was an unkempt raised square of thick green ivy. I sat on a tree stump at the foot of his grave in the soft rain. This simple site understated his suffering and beauty. Belied his magnificence in the world. 
Outside the cemetery walls, were wheat fields. I saw a small monument on one of the tracks criss-crossing the field. At this point Vincent had painted, “Crows over a Wheat field”. The last painting he completed just before he took his life. I looked at the ground below my feet and realised his blood was spilt in this very earth. At my feet was a rock, curiously stained crimson in the morning rain.
I was deeply moved by this day and that night wrote in my journal, 
“My Vincent dilemma; to live a prolonged life of mediocrity, or a short life of passion?”


Journal Pages from Europe

A page from the journal I kept on my journey around Europe. 

From this second storey window above Rue RicherI observed Paris. There was an old man who sat opposite in the entrance to the Passage Verdeau. Each day he arrived at 8.00am and left at 7.00pm, and in a quiet and deeply respectful manner, accepted the loose coins of passerbys. He was to engage me in a way that I hadn't expected. 

‘Meeting Gerard’ (114.5 x 76.5 cm) Charcoal, Pastel, Graphite on Paper

Struggling, I went to the subterranean bookshop at the Louvre, looking for some artistic nourishment.
Hidden away on the shelves in the back corner, was one particular book. A hard covered catalogue of recent works by a French painter, Gerard Garouste. A million books and I stumbled across this one, or it found me.
His paintings resonated and shared a sensibility akin to my work. Stories about his life, constructed with pathos and humour, and a keen eye for subtle and intriguing distortions. Work that endeavoured to make sense of all that had gone before.
It was to be profound.