“Exploring the language of paint and investigating creativity of the moment are fundamental aspects on my journey of making a painting. The elemental combination of earth,fire and water are my core subject matter, once thought by the ancient Chinese to be the components of a human body. I seek to infuse and overlap these elements in a distillation of paint.
“There are musical and poetic comparisons as I aim to create a breadth of dialogue in response to a live landscape situation. I attempt to weave a line between abstract passages of paint that which is familiar, analytical and representational. I am reminded of a Jazz musician using a familiar musical passage as the hook on which to hang his improvisations. Similarly, the landscape is equivalent to my hook. I am interested in going outside to paint, responding to the day as it changes and unfolds. I document the light, space and texture, spontaneously painting the changes, observing and marking the passing of time .
“At times a vigorous approach is employed, capturing a sense of urgency in an effort to catch the changing light. This could then pass on to analytical observation, seeking to emulate the subtle complexity of natural forms.
“Working outside brings an instinctive aspect to painting. I employ a directness of articulation and economy of language. At times areas are left understated while other areas are the focus of attention. This is reflective of how the mind, eye and the hand respond in a cohesive flow in response to working from life, whilst the creative energy emanates from the heart.
“I look for a sense of pictorial space, taking the furthest point from the eye, then drawing the composition towards me. Conversely, the viewer, looking at the surfaces and reading the painting is gradually drawn through the space. In a sense I am painting an organic, natural space rather than a picturesque view of the landscape. I am not averse to the beauty and interconnectedness of things.
“The palette of colours is kept simple. Considerable mixing takes place, on the palette and on the painting. I push the paint around using various brushes and tools as the pigments get to know each other. I often think of the process of painting as a series of mistakes, with an underlaying sense of knowing, continuing towards a resolution.
“Working within the parameters of a creative window, I see the painting evolve. I aim to depict a distillation and observance of the passing of time, rather than a photographs snapshot of a landscape, which represents a split second.
“ At time the event of doing apainting can be very challenging. Finding and getting to a location which has the right combination of elements, also being weather beaten and insect bitten standing too close to the edge on a windy day sneaky freak waves, not to mention close encounters with various animals are all part of the happening. At times I am struck in wonderment, standing painting the passing of a day as the planet revolves
around the sun.”
A selection of Neal’s work is currently available exclusively through Hambly & Hambly. Please contact us for a catalogue.