Thursday, September 17, 2009

New Painting: 'Apartment on Convent Place'

'Apartment on Convent Place' 2009, 5.5 X 8", acrylic on board.

I had originally wanted to shoot this building from the front where the word ‘Maple’ appeared on one of the front doors in plain, vaguely italic, gold leaf letters. The other door must have read ‘Apts’ or ‘Court’ but had been replaced. By the time I got around to shooting it, ‘Maple’ had also disappeared.

I had been intent on calling the piece ‘Maple’ and the missing word killed my interest in the building. Just another worn looking small stucco apartment in Victoria. The narrow street wouldn’t allow me to fit the whole building in my viewfinder so I left without a photo.

Some time later, overlooking a carport, I took a shot of the back of the building not realising it was ‘Maple’.

We’re settling in to Montreal but I’m still dragging out my most recent Victoria slides to browse through. Old slides have a diminishing impact on me over time, reflecting old concerns or conceits. There seems to be a two year window of relevance which I can feel closing on my Victoria shots.

I notice John Salt and John Baeder often use old photos for new paintings and wonder if I’ll ever do the same.

The changing nature of what surrounds us interests me. The changes giving new context to the old. The constantly shifting definition of ‘old’. I guess using old photos is one way of pointing out these changes.

God knows why I picked this image out of the pile. Like most, it sort of demanded that I choose it. I sometimes find myself mid-painting asking ‘Why on earth am I painting this?’ Nondescript is hardly the word but it undoubtedly reflects some subtle perceptual change in me and illuminates some dark corner of my psyche with its weak light.