I wanted to share with you my latest sequence of paint­ings, based on the four clas­sical ele­ments:

elements

Earth, Air, Fire and Water, of course. Though actu­ally I was aim­ing for a little more than that, to wit: the ele­ments as they relate to me. It’s actu­ally almost a self portrait.

Earth – tra­di­tion­ally the ele­ment of Earth rep­res­ents the prac­tical and groun­ded side of things, and this some­what arboreal scene is cer­tainly solid and tall, if some­what murky. With leafy greens shad­ing to earthy browns, I hope I’ve cap­tured some of the qual­ity of the nat­ural world, since it is in such places that I feel most groun­ded. Yet there’s an ambi­val­ence here,  for this a some­what sombre place, with the sun­light not entirely ban­ish­ing the shad­ows. And who knows what lurks there? I’ve writ­ten about woods before, and I think this is the same thing: the ten­sion between calmness and danger.

Air – this is actu­ally my favour­ite of the pic­tures, which isn’t that sur­pris­ing as Air is my favour­ite ele­ment. Traditionally the ele­ment is asso­ci­ated with the intel­lect and the mind. Evidently my mind is cloudy! But also peace­ful, light, bil­low­ing with only gentle tur­bu­lence. Interestingly, this is the most lit­er­ally rep­res­ent­a­tional pic­ture; which is appro­pri­ate as my mind is fairly lit­eral. Oh, and it also looks a bit like the start to The Simpson’s, which is a plus in my book!

Fire – fire rep­res­ents pas­sion and spirit. Although the above snap doesn’t show it very well, this is a pic­ture full of hot reds and warm golds. One might expect a more fiery and dynamic image, but that’s not me, instead the pic­ture is intense but con­strained. There is fluid motion, but no wild­ness, and little ran­dom­ness. There are strong echoes of the Earth pic­ture, which I like, as they’re two sides of the same coin.

Water – this ele­ment is tra­di­tion­ally asso­ci­ated with emo­tions and feel­ing. This is my least favour­ite of the pic­tures, which may say some­thing! The water is a little choppy, not stormy or full of motion, but not com­pletely pla­cid either. This is the pic­ture with the least trans­par­ency; the water’s sur­face is reflect­ive and opaque. Are there hid­den depths? I’m not sure the pic­ture tells us.

So there they are. Well, they’re up on our liv­ing room walls at the moment, and I’m lik­ing them; hope you do too.

Ben.

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