This is one of a series of large paintings/collages I made on paper during my recent residency in California. As lockdown began and my residency became more inward facing, my own fears for the future were knocked into nothingness by the bravado and exhilaration of spring. I was stunned by the light and the new flowers appearing every day on my solitary walks around the increasingly empty neighbourhood. In California, I found, winter lasts two weeks. Hence this selfie I took with an autumn leaf hanging from one ear and a magnolia petal on the other. They were picked off the ground on the same street, on the same day.
When I paint I never have a plan. I go into the studio with my brain empty and my courage wavering. Hence paper. It's a good match for spontaneity. I begin with small stabs at the process, and then once the images flood in, I can extend the painting by glueing on new patches of land. And layering. Sometimes a colour or brush runs rampant and wants to take over. It might be great that way or it might need pruning back to let other colours or marks show through, or find their own space in the picture.
I wanted to insist on the obliterating power of Nature to bend events to her own eternity. Her yellow flowers, each one of them a little sun, dazzled me with their incorrigible proliferation. I created these picture spaces where humans, challenged by insurmountable problems, are surrounded by Nature's ebullient certainty. She fights by throwing colour onto every dismal branch, with a No to austerity, and a Yes to audacity!