Liberating The Creative Impulse with Alan Davie



Close Again At Dusk by Judith Ann Brown

This week I was lucky enough to see Double Monument by Scottish abstract painter Alan Davie at Robinson College. The painting and the reaction of the person I was viewing it with intrigued me so much that later that day I did some research into this amazing artist and found a kindred spirit.

“Painting is a continuous process which has no beginning or end. There never really is a point in time when painting is NOT.”

This is a man who oozed creativity and was incapable of not being creative whether through  painting and drawing, music, writing, textiles or jewellery making. When he discussed the creative act he talked about the mystical and unconscious element to art where images surprised him with their appearance in magical moments when he was ‘ enraptured beyond knowing.’

He also acknowledged the restriction inherent in total artistic freedom. He found that absolute spontaneity only took his art so far. The sketchbooks he had with pages and pages of ideas show an artist poised between deliberate design and a deeper, more poetic unfolding. His profound interest in Zen Buddhism led him to compare his instinctual painting practice to that of the Zen artists who after preparing paints and materials sat in meditative silence until moved to paint.

I love his musings on titles, which he stated should not be taken literally. He saw the naming of a painting as an expression of what the finished piece looked like. ” I chose it just as a form of identification, almost like naming a child or giving a title to a piece of music.”  I must say though, that if I deliberated as much over the titles of my paintings as over the naming of my son I would not get half as much painting done!

More please… I will not be satisfied until I have seen much more of this incredibly prolific artist.


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