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Dancing in the jungle

I first drew on this canvas on New Year’s eve 2011-12. I’d just moved to Barcelona, didn’t know many people and anyway thought that a great NYE would be staying in with a nice bottle of wine, a blank canvas and a new creative project. At the time, I was still reading from a trip to Japan that summer and decided to create a four-section hyper-realistic painting based on some of my more than a 1000 photographs taken.

It started well, and that is still one of the best New Year’s eves I’ve spent, yet after a while I began to realise that no matter how well I painted the sections, it really wasn’t going to look that great. I talked myself out of the idea and eventually left the unfinsihed canvas in storage for years.

Nearly 9 years later in June 2020, I was going through a kind of creative rebirth. A freedom derived from not having many “real work” clients due to the Covid 19 pandemic combined with the responsibility of having taken on a studio space with the idea of being able to run workshops, that I clearly wasn’t going to be able to do anytime soon. I decided to work on my expressive painting.

Why waste a new canvas when I had one I had thought very seriously about throwing away?

In the years between starting the painting and finishing it, I travel extensively to Costa Rica and Central America (as well as many other places). Spending time in the lush jungles, I became fascinated by the forms and colours of the biodiversity. Again I took thousands of pictures but never got around to translating these into a painting.

This painting was born without looking at any of those pictures but remembering the feeling of being lost in the jungle and my thoughts. As I painted it, moving around, feeling the flow of the paints on the canvas, I felt like I was dancing in the jungle.