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Blog - Alan Hopwood

Good days and Bad days


Abstract digital image using layers of textured blue shapes

September is promising to end on a better note than it started for me, I’m managing to do more (not as much as I’d like), getting time in the studio and applying for arts funding to help take these ideas to the next level.

I have also been preparing five paintings for an exhibition. If you are in the Cambridge area in October, come and see my work as part of “Mind The Gap” an exhibition highlighting and supporting mental health. It is on from 1st-13th October at Michaelhouse Centre, Cambridge.

The works I have in this show span the period 2014-2016 which was a difficult time for me and my mental health suffered during it. The paintings reflect this as well as the sense of optimism I managed to uphold in the end. Through these works, you can also see that I am jumping between the landscape and abstraction, searching for a way to express myself.

I guess I still use both of these elements in my images but the abstract dominates I think and for me, this allows the viewer more opportunity to engage with the image on their own terms. After all, art can only trigger what is already experienced, each person bringing with them the entirety of their experience, not mine.

Here is a very recent image, exploring the notion of good days and bad days, light overcoming darkness, it sounds too literal when you try to explain it. I have no title yet and I’m not sure it’s the finished article but I like the contrasts.

At this stage I feel I need to work at a higher resolution, better image quality that allows me to enlarge or crop into an image. This sequence of images uses both painting and photography, I have yet to fathom which format it will end in. unlike a painting in the traditional sense, this work is more immediate, relying upon the here and now.

The incidental happenings as I produce the work. I like the spontaneity that this offers, it’s not just about the painting as a finished object, it includes the environment in which it was produced, the light, time of day and even my reflection in some occasions. The resulting visual language comes from factors that are not purely the result of my physical touch, like a brushstroke, it includes external interventions acting upon the painted surface.

I hope to develop such ideas and eventually include them into an exhibition that somehow involves the audience in the image as they see it, but this is early days and the language is still developing. I suppose the significant thing is that I have a path to follow, a starting point, which can sometimes be the hard part in the creative process. All those days in bed, thinking and getting frustrated, have culminated in an idea that was the result of two hours in my studio. Not thinking, just responding. That’s just how it works I guess.

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Anne Teahan

I really love the depth and sensitivity within your work. I like the experimentation and the way the different visual elements hold together. I really get that sense of emerging light and hope being aligned. Also makes me think of the way that landscape can be comforting during bad periods – whether it’s health or any of the other harsh stuff life throws up.