This picture was made whilst fretting in a hotel room in Auckland. We were flying over Queenstown in South Island, New Zealand when a storm turned us back, and we flew 90 minutes all the way back to Auckland where I was becalmed for 36 hours; trying to amuse myself, weather too blustery to go out. It was a stressful time and this shows in the final picture. I just looked again and I think it is quite busy, probably too much going on.
With these pictures there comes a time when anything you add or subtract alters it significantly in a way that changes the balance of colour and weight. One must either accept what is there or make major changes. With an oil painting a mistake can either be scraped back, or allowed to dry and re-painted. Water colours are not nearly so forgiving, once a brush is put to paper, you are committed to it and options for repair are limited. With any artwork there are stages in the evolution in which the image is complete, which is why some minimalist pictures, e.g. cartoons made with the least brush-strokes can look so good. If a single superfluous stroke is added, it gets too much and must be further worked until the next moment arises. And so it goes until the artist chooses the right moment to stop. We have all seen overworked pictures. Digital art is different in that it is infinitely changeable, particularly in a huge program like Photoshop. It is possible to throw in masses of information, remove it at will, manipulate it in a thousand different ways, each of which influences other components of the image. Too much choice is not always a good thing, and the discipline of making a clear decision before committing is good. I’m at that point of development where I can predict quite a few digital effects and use them knowledgably, however I still rely on serendipity to surprise and delight me. An image can pass through a hundred different phases in an instant – this makes choosing that final moment very difficult. If anything, it is harder than oil painting. But then in the mind game which is art I suppose both choices are different facets.
This image at first had photos of rock faces giving texture, lights in the dark, and many other structural forms added to see how they changed the format of the image. Some of those images were subsequently removed I wanted to achieve a different effect and changed them for photos of bush and cattle.
The man in the chest X-ray presented clinically with what appeared to be late onset migraine; flashing lights and a pounding headache. He became unconscious and on investigation a chest X-ray showed malignant metastatic deposits in the lungs. A CT scan of head showed more deposits in the brain, one of which had bled. In this picture I have included an arc of coloured spiky lights which simulate the aura of migraine. It is associated with characteristic distortion of visual field and double vision. The colour splashes are otherwise my own interpretation.
The title comes from a poignant poem by Rob Walker Against the grain which can be found at: http://cordite.org.au/poetry/masque/against-the-grain/#comment-8850