In March 2020 a group of enterprising life models set up Zoom life drawing. I have found these life drawing sessions to be a life line during Lockdown. Another source of inspiration for these lockdown paintings is pre-historic cave art, I have a facsimile of The Lion Man, a 40,000year old mammoth ivory carving found in Germany. It is possible this figure could represent a shaman. While gazing at compelling photos in Jean Clottes “Cave Art” and half listening to the daily afternoon Covid19 briefings on the radio, I was struck by how sheltered 21st century, first-world humans have been to date. Our early ancestors were never far from a catastrophe.
This Lion Man might have been all that stood between disaster and survival in the minds of it’s makers. Three strands of ideas for a painting started to develop: the human figure, the Lion Man head and bird motifs from one of my sketch books. The birds represent the news: “following the science”, the hardships of many and of course “fake news”. Quite often the title for a painting comes early in the process, “We Have Been Here Before” is a fair statement of my intent for these paintings. I first made an acrylic painting then an encaustic painting. Working in encaustic allows for sgraffito, the technique of removing the top layer of paint to reveal the underlayer. My mark making has always had this impulse to carve, to remove.