Such a small word and so elusive.  I first encountered this word in an artistic context whilst researching the painter and educator, Roy Oxlade.  ‘Roy Oxlade emerged in the 1950s as one of a distinguished group of painters from under the wing of David Bomberg, and has remained faithful to the principles of immediacy, the authenticity of the brush mark and truth of feeling. He talks of the process of painting as being akin to a performance, like jazz improvisation: risky, spontaneous and yet disciplined, a meeting between the external world and the vision within.’ 1 (Richardson,2013)

In writing about Bomberg in his book Art & Instinct, ‘He hoped to find in his “approach to mass” the key to something fundamental in human life;… drawing becomes the means of regaining a natural insight into the world of forms as well as renewing our understanding of life’s value and meaning.’ 2 (Oxlade, 2010) p196

For the first time, when attempting to paint my much loved grandmother and myself, the word ‘truth’ kept repeating in my head, and I realised that Bomberg’s ‘approach to mass’, his truth, was what I was grappling with, how to convey the truth of my relationship with her in a single image.IMG_0884

I am not  there with the image yet, but I am there in terms of understanding what Bomberg meant.

1 Michael Richardson (2013) Retrieved 14/02/2016

2 Oxlade, R. (2010). Art & Instinct. London: Ziggurat Books.


Author: susanmilleruk

Watercolour painter living, working and loving Hastings and St Leonards on Sea. MA in Fine Art.

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