First of all, a belated Happy New Year to all my followers. Belated, it is, because ever since New Year I have had a string of colds which I've been unable to shake off, and I just haven't felt like writing.
I spent the New Year weekend away on the South Coast, where it was all crashing seas, swollen, leaden clouds and feeble attempts to start street fights at 10 am on New Year's Day – not by me, I might add!
I like to spend New Year alone, reflecting and contemplating. I always read a lot – this year it was Dylan Thomas and Richard Siken; and I thought, as always, about Art and my relationship with it.
The day after returning home, I spent a wonderful afternoon with an artist friend who used to study piano with me - and, in fact, will hopefully be writing a guest article for this column before too long! We discussed art and music, and I took notes, for this person has always been one to stimulate paths of discovery within me.
Just before Christmas, I invited my readers to suggest topics for discussion. I am grateful to the reader who contributed the following questions:
“Do our emotions get reflected in the colours we choose? Does music influence how we create?”
Both of these matters came into the conversation that day with my friend, so let's consider them and throw them open, perhaps, to further discussion as our new year unfolds.
My friend, with an unfailing artist's eye, observed on scanning the room that my work often contains juxtapositions of various shades of pink and green; this is something that I had not previously realised. Below is illustrated an old piece, one of those doodles that I perform in the studio just to use up a palette, and then shove in some old frame that needs filling. On the day in question, I had hung it on the wall, in a space that likewise needed filling.
UNTITLED DOODLE - Haydn Dickenson, circa 2014
We went through into the next room and, lo and behold, another much larger canvas stared down at us, once again dominated, in its sparse way, by pink and green.
THREE-FOUR - Haydn Dickenson 2023
Woe betide anyone, incidentally, anyone who – as has recently occurred - describes this painting as 'looking unfinished'!
What is it then, with the pink and the green? Do these colour choices reflect my emotions?
I would have to say that, directly, they do not, but indirectly, they may. I do adore pink hues – it is something about the soft warmth and the lightness. Additionally, the colour carries a childhood resonance for me; not an altogether happy or positive one, but a soft pink represents something of extreme familiarity, harking back to my infancy.
As for green, I adore the natural world – not the darkness and dormancy of winter, but the new life of Spring. This does not mean , of course, that I am directly making reference to verdancy when I reach for the green; such things happen unconsciously, but are no less real for that.
I have recently produced a painting that is to be used in a film project by an award-winning film maker. I cannot yet show the full painting, but here is a detail from it.
DETAIL OF PAINTING FOR FILM PROJECT - Haydn Dickenson 2024
You, the reader, may make of this piece what you will, but beware the assumption that any painting that I make, featuring the colour red, necessarily represents anger.
Regarding the second part of my reader's two-pronged question, let me refer you to an earlier blog post https://www.artfullyabstractedblog.com/post/the-influence-of-music-on-my-work for this question has been asked, and discussed, before.
I see music in painting, and I hear painting in sound. Art is, in many ways, indivisible.
Copyright Haydn Dickenson 2024