Swans Taking Flight, the largest of my paintings and one of the most admired. It was this piece that marks the beginning of my signature style.
I had always painted very formally, not convinced by an abstract style of work. I had thought splashed paint lacked a certain grandeur for the viewer. I had painted the swans with a colourless background, and was working on the reflections. They were to be the most detailed part... weeks were spent getting it just perfect, but it lacked a certain something, so I kept working on it. Out of frustration and vexation I splattered the white paint at the middle swan, quickly and carelessly swiping the thick brush with the rich sunset reflection, accepting that this huge painting was ruined... and so I did not care if I destroyed it - dripping and splashing paint everywhere. I was so upset at my failure to make the painting perfect, that it was only when I displayed this emotion that the painting took form, movement, and
became a painting that embraces freedom, depth and
What was missing from the painting all the time, was me.
I had put none of myself into it.
As an artist I always try to be open to learning, but this
lesson was the biggest, most influential change of my style,
and that was, not to paint for the viewer. . .
It was, to paint for me. In the way I see,
with the style that is me.