My Painting

I think of my work as being open minded and life-celebrating and visualize my ideas in dramatic terms, always wanting them to ‘speak out’ from the corner of any room that they might inhabit. The paintings contain the themes that haunt my imagination, taking images from my own long and chequered emotional life and the natural world. I often take references from art, music and literature that I admire and that have influenced me. Other drawings and paintings come from my own photography and my own poetry, written when I was a younger man. The poems still resonate and somehow carry with them the events and feelings of the time for me, like an old forgotten piece of music. I also refer back to old images to review their emotional power and become absorbed by portraits of people I have known or admire. Everything is approached with a peculiar sublimated desire and some trepidation and I feel a sense of wonder when a painting is finished as if something or someone else has had a hand in it, perhaps from deep in my ancestral memory.

Rich colour, text and texture are my favourite things. I love the secrecy of interstitial space, the depth and penetration. I paint in a conventional way, unschooled and outside modern idioms, so my work might appear rather old-fashioned and ’stuckist’ but I keep faith with my love of bold figurative painting and the excitement of bringing something meaningful and unique into being. I have painted for 45 years or so, sitting at the centre of normal social and working life, not exhibiting much but listening to friends, family and owners and viewers of my work for feedback. I always try to be more experimental than I really am able to be and I feel my work has a genuine, modern voice of its own. I suppose most painters feel the same and maybe the whole process could just turn out to be a perverse form of vanity! Anyway, the paintings appear, they are present and genuine and people both known and entirely unknown to me, for their own reasons, come to own them and I am very grateful for that, as they actively demonstrate the values and opinions that I trust the most.

Almost every day, I go down the garden path, tea in hand, to my music-filled studio, looking out over Denbighshire's Llantysilio Hills. I feel lucky to be able to make this my work, and I feel compelled to go on, because I love the introverted, complex, layered, self-doubting, unsatisfactory endeavour which has somehow given me some motivation and strength in life, together with eternal optimism! The best painting, the one where all the puzzles are solved, the beauty created, the colours sung, the soul uplifted, is always the next one!

Phil Parker, October 2021