Reason vs Motivation

Reason vs Motivation

Another New Studio

On the Open weekend I had twenty visitors on the Saturday and two on the Sunday, I can’t complain because I sold a painting.

I’ve called this post Reason vs Motivation as a step towards an explanation of my current practice. When I was talking to people at the open studio the film elicited some comments about its elegiac quality, which tied into my thinking through Eliot’s ‘deception of the Thrush’. Given that gardens in Christian thought are always the garden of Eden and consequently serve as a metaphor for the loss of innocence, the reference to my own garden uses it as trigger for the desire to reclaim something lost. The something lost is lost “in” innocence rather than being innocence. The problem with the past is that memory and nostalgia render it different to the degree that what you desire from the past isn’t what it was in the past, and the suggestion that it can be reclaimed is doubly erroneous as you yourself are the major difference that prevents its return. This is of course entirely obvious and is not the reason that the work is made but is probably the motivation for it being made. I’m still trying to articulate this properly and perhaps that’s the wrong thing to do as nothing kills creation for me quicker than having a reason to do it. I think it becomes contingent when it has that kind of rationale attached. It has to remain poetry rather than prose.

Since the open studio I carried on with the drawing of the photograph made by Jamie Bubb 

Reason vs Motivation

jb-flowers one

Making the image darker and darker.

jb_flowers one

This was the state of play on the 7th December, and started another drawing from the same source.

jb_flowers two

This was the second drawing on the 7th December.

jb_flowers two

And this is it on the 8th December.

jb_flowers one

The first drawing was darkened considerably by the 11th.

jb_flowers two

More detailed was added to the second drawing by the 11th.

Reason vs Motivation

three trees sculpture 15th December

On the 15th December I returned to the big sculpture and added white paint. Initially I’d thought of painting spots where I wanted to piece holes but when I started I decided that I should just paint the gaps between branches, or an idea of them.


As I waiting for that to dry I drew a pigeon.

I made a small cardboard maquette to explore the three trees as separate elements on the 18th December.

adjusted the low section of the model on the 21st December.

three trees maquette 19122023

On the 19th December I built a cardboard maquette developed from sketchbook drawings of the new big sculpture and then on the 21st I painted it red.

studio 21st December

The polycam scan of the thin red maquette.

Reason vs Motivation

A few days after the open studio weekend and before I got really stuck in the mud mentally I wrote a further piece in my journal.

The question hovering above all art is ‘What is it about?’. These days there are labels so that you know immediately, or at least you get a clue that helps you make sense of the piece. Personally the question is always ‘Why did you make this?’. Because the act of making is the act of translating a desire into a realisation (or does the translation create the work?). The work starts with an idea that changes through application, an act of both compromise and development, and is presented, mutated, at the end. My response is ‘that’s kind of what I meant’. I […] think that there is a well of experience, belief, prejudice and angst stirred with study, planning and effort that the work springs from.

It doen’t really make it any clearer.

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