Who's Afraid of the Dark?

Pleased that my painting ‘Not Dark Yet’, has been shortlisted for the Cooper Prize 2021. I thought I would tell you more about it; origins and how it ‘happened’. Scary nightmare or romantic interlude?

It started with a photograph I took over on the North coast of Ireland last summer. I was walking along a pathway toward the sea and was met with a wide panoramic view before me. It really caught my imagination. The sky was cloudy and a mass of soft greys but it was also bright and the remains of the sunlight shone downwards through the clouds onto the water. After my travels I made some monochrome monotypes using this image as a starting point. I produced several and placed a figure (very unusual for me) in the foreground with her back to us. I love walking as the light is falling so I gave them the title ‘Walk in the Dark’.

Then I wondered what would happen if I made a painting based on them and this is the result. The more I worked on it the further away the results got from the original image and the monotypes. Paint allows a more complex surface and pouring, each layer determining the next until it feels complete – finished and a long way away from the original photograph. I can’t remember why I left the figure out of the painting but the pathway remains so the viewer rather than watching the figure in the foreground can potentially step onto the path themselves and walk along while looking over at the hills across the water. The white mark in the middle distance suggests a home dwelling of some kind but is in fact a spot of white canvas.

How does the night time resonate with you? Scary nightmare or romantic interlude? Ambiguities arise and the painting and the prints may tell a different story to each viewer.


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Alex McArthur  speenoch@yahoo.co.uk