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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