This is… The Rising of the Phoenix

I’m going to tell you a Story; my origin, my artist birth point. The beginning of my creative journey, in regards to the type of paintings that I do today. It’s not day one of being an artist but it is the starting point of my current flow of work. In September 2019, I had run out of my usual materials to do a painting and I decided to use everything I had to hand, and I mean everything! This included cooking oil, resin, acrylics, watercolours, oils, poster paints and PVA glue.

I started to mix pigments with the resin and mixed different water colours with the PVA.  Before this moment I had been dabbling around with working with Epoxy Resin. Learning how it flowed and how much you could manipulate this before curving. So I found myself with various beakers, and then started to pour each beaker into three separate canister. This canvas is quite long it’s about 100 centimetres long. I upturned the canister and left it there, upside down on the canvas, so the paint was trapped inside not able to spread out onto the canvas.  I didn’t really know what was going to happen next, I’d seen acrylic pours on various YouTube videos, I knew of artists that were doing this, but I knew that this was something different. Before I released the paints, I looked in my kitchen draws and I found some old barbecue skewers, I then found wooden spatulas and a palette knife. I released the paint from the canisters and I started to move it around with the tools. I loved the colours and I loved the energy and it felt like I was moving in flow. Freely moving around without restriction. It felt very much like a beginning, a release of energy, there was a definite shedding of any restrictions, it was playful and then I thought I’m going to let it dry and see what happens. So I left it, to dry and it took around three weeks for it to fully dry out.

That’s the case of all my paintings some of them take even longer depending on the thickness of the paint. What I found during this initial process was the oil pants weren’t sinking into the canvas, they were sitting on top and then the water based ones, as they dried out, would go into the canvas and so I created this flow of texture as well as creating the shapes that I had moved around the canvas with the various tools that I was working with. When it was drying out, the colours darkened. What was once light as it was drying out was getting darker, especially with the PVA mixtures, as it dries, it because clear no longer white, so when you mix the colours together it looked a paler than when it had dried. These areas also had a sheen to them.

This was my starting point, now something magical happened after this painting had dried. I had it horizontal on my wall for a while and I mean, a while, at least four weeks and it just didn’t sit right with me. I wasn’t sure about the positioning, so I turned it vertically and that’s when things started to appear. A movie night, with a fantastic person, started with a discussion about the painting and what we could see in its shapes. Over the next few weeks, I kept looking and seeing further details. Now, I’m going to admit here, that it wasn’t until a few months later, in fact February 2019 after watching Fantasia, that I realised the painting was like the scene out of that film, and as I am being open and honest, I don’t even think I was the first one to compare the last scene of that film to this painting.

The last scene of that film and I’m talking about the version in the 1940s, in fact, I think it was created in 1940. Now the final scene, is animated around a piece of music that is composed by Modest Mussorgsky, Night on Bald Mountain or it is sometimes known as Night of Bare Mountain and it’s describing a story in which Saint John witnesses a witches’ Sabbath, on the mountain, located in the old Russian Empire.  It is a terrifying and wild party that ends at sunrise. Within Fantasia, it’s not witches, it is Chernabog, who is Satan. He awakens on the mountain and he summons the souls of the dead to come to party, for one night and they rise up from the graves, they come up through the village and they are incredibly life like. They’re not, what would you describe as Disney ghosts and ghouls. There’s nothing cartoonish about these creatures. They look like skeletons, they have a really eerie glow to them and when they get onto the mountain they turn into these very crooked, doubled over ghouls, with pointy ears, just how you would imagine the Devils would look like. They dance, some of them get squished and moulded into different shapes and then the church bells chime for the morning and the sun comes up and they retreat back, That’s when the big wings of Satan close and form the mountain.

Now, I’m looking at this painting, people have told me that they can see an eagle or a Phoenix. There’s what looks like fire and burning from the bottom and it’s as if there’s a figure in the middle with their hands reaching up to the top and then there is a devil almost  elf shaped face in the top right hand corner. It’s very significant, that this piece was experimental, it was playful, it was created with no preconception of what was going to happen.

Subconsciously it was created. It is a piece that is more significant now, than I realised at the time. It was the birth of Angel Burns the artist, it was the birth of my technique, my direction. It was the start of creating paintings that distorted our perception of space. It has so much energy, so much emotion in it. I love the fact that it was the end of the darkness time in my life and of a very lonely solitude period of time for me.  Within a matter of weeks after that moment my life, shifted, slowly, it became to get joyful. To the point where I can tell people, no, I don’t even need to tell people, actually they tell me, that I am happy, that they can feel the joy.  I love this painting, I am grateful for myself, that I allowed myself to experiment, to be playful and to create how I wanted, to not be influenced by others, to be told how to paint. I broke all the rules, I used various different mediums in a unique way and I continue to do that, it brings me pleasure and I love sharing that joy with others.

This is The Rising of  the Phoenix  

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