The mid eighties were a big turning point for me in many ways, and it was also the beginning of my mural painting period, which lasted for fifteen years.
At that time, mural painting was very much in vogue, and corporations were spending large amounts of money to have them installed into their corporate headquarters.
They commissioned murals through art agents/consultants. In 1986, I was fortunate to meet a very good art agent/consultant in the States, who specialised in corporate art. This lead to a long lasting working relationship.
It is important to stress, that most of these murals were decorative, and were painted according to the likes of whoever was commissioning. For me, they represented a way to make large chunks of money, which then gave me the freedom to paint what I wanted to paint. They were also an excellent way to hone my tools.
These two images of a large canvas commissioned by the Philadelphia Heart Institute in 1988 are a good example of a decorative mural which was painted in my studio and then put onto a large roller to be transported to the site for installation.
This large oil painting, along with a mural, and several other paintings, was commissioned by the Andrew Weir Shipping Company for an hotel in the Cardiff Bay development. Each job involved research, and in this case I had to learn out about the Tea Clippers that frequented Cardiff at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Every now and then I received a commission where I was able to paint what I wanted to paint......and this was the case with two large panels for a thousand year old church in Wales.
This image, shows the underpainting of one of the panels. Monotone under paintings gave me a sense of the composition and rhythm of a painting before adding colour.
I was given the following passage from Song of Solomon, (2:10-12) as inspiration for the panels.
'Arise my love and come to me for the winter is past, the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth, the season of singing has come, and the turtle dove is heard in our land.'
I used symbolic imagery to represent the verse and painted the panels with the children of the area in mind. All the animals in the panels, are animals I knew and loved.
Here you see the two panels after installation. It is important to note, than when producing large installations of any kind, the architectural elements of the given space have to be harmoniously incorporated into the picture.....Once again, it is understanding that everything is interconnected.
This image shows a very large mural, commissioned for an architects building in the States. In this case the architect gave me carte blanch, and so once again I had to research the area. Everything in this painting has symbolic meaning, and it was probably the first time I used hummingbirds in a large painting.
This image shows a much younger me working on the mural.
Along with the mural, I also designed and built these three eighteen foot hanging mobiles which complimented the painting, and also filled the forty foot high space.
At one point I also designed room dividing screens....
This large oil on panel was commissioned for a private dining room.....
In this mural, I incorporated a copper fountain and vine. Integrating the two dimensional painting along with three dimensional sculpture was something I loved to do.
I wish I had better photographic reference of these jobs....and the many more that I completed between the mid eighties and 2000....however, it was pre digital cameras, and I wasn't quote so adept those days in taking photographs.
Again, it's important to stress that most of the work I did, for hotels, banks, hospitals, etc. were of a decorative nature....however, in hindsight, I can see very clearly that they served their purpose very well. They provided me with an excellent income, which in turn gave me freedom to create and also honed my tools.
I have been requested to write this blog for Axlepin Publshing, which I am very proud to be involved with.