NOTES -On Being Human in Nature – notes after our conversation, for Michael and Alison.
You asked me what this painting was about, you said tell me about this painting, and I realised I hadn’t yet developed a relationship with it in words, but when we went to stand by it, I found some words.
The title ‘On being human in nature’ came fully formed to me, pretty much as soon as it was finished.
It is a large, mostly dark painting with a lot of deep greens and olives layered, but the dark is not forbidding or monolithic, it is actually very cosy and intimate, the shapes suggest being amongst trees or also maybe buildings, the slither of grey blue at the top is a tiny hint of clear sky above.
The application of colour is very loose, the marks and the scale don’t let you forget they were made by a human, very spontaneous; a surface too polished would have lost the meaning and been less inviting.
The area of lemon /lime green at the top left-hand corner signals a flash of intense light, like a glare, which reminds me of memories of seeing the headlights of a car in the night, on a country road, coming round the corner, when you’re not expecting it, which resonates in your eyes for a few seconds afterwards, a sudden glow in the dark, and this bright colour counterbalances the rest of the composition.
Pieces of me are found within the painting, sitting within an area of paler pink, a very small daub of flesh pink is on the far right top side – which seems to represent the vulnerable human, and also the almost hieroglyphic scratching into the paint on a deep rusty colour in the middle of the painting feels like a language, possibly representing some sort of vessel, what for (?); and these specific marks are made when I am in flow, they are not decorative; and if they were merely decorative, they would be removed.
You asked me also about the mark-making and the decision-making, why I make some surface textural ‘scratchy’ marks, and I said that these marks are partly showing energy, they express the human scale of me, involved in the canvas, the person making it, and they can be used for definition in places, where I’m trying to create depth or rhythm or balance between areas of colour and texture so that the composition works.
I suppose when I see the whole composition it brings to mind a feeling of proportion, how I fit into this world, which is huge and limitless, but I still feel part of it, and I still resonate within it, like that pink mark placed within these deep fields of colour, I create my own ripple.
But maybe it’s a reminder to look outside of myself, and my own mind, to remember to get a better perspective.
Kate Scott April 2021