I’ve finally finished this painting I started more than a year ago. Usually it takes 2-3 months full-time to finish a painting but this one was an exception. Why? Well, I actually came up with the image in my head 2 years ago, and my original concept involved a small sculpture, but the technician I was working with turned out to be very dodgy, so I had to step back and rethink what I should do about it. In the end, I decided to paint. So I began last year, but half way through I came up against a stumbling block and it was emotionally too challenging to continue. You see, this image depicts a very personal moment from my own extreme pain experience. It is of a very distinct moment when I wasn’t sure whether my next thought or action could be rationally trusted – I was almost seriously considering cutting my stomach open with a knife and pulling out whatever was causing so much pain. I was sure I’d be able to see the cause when I did, and I would then get everything out with my fingers so that I would be clear of this harrowing pain. In my mind I was almost convinced that these actions would be less painful than what I had been experiencing.
Pain, especially when it’s severe, is all consuming. It suspends everything else that we are doing. Nothing else seems to matter – the most important and urgent thing you need and want to do at that moment is to deal with the pain. But what do you do when the pain doesn’t go away, no matter what you do? What do you do when painkillers don’t work any more, or they even start to make you feel sicker? What do you do when the doctors tell you there’s nothing else they can do for you?
This painting is about a very dark and desperate moment in my life. I don’t think I am the only person who has thought of something like this before though. I think there are a lot of chronic pain sufferers out there who have been there, or still are, each in their own way. When I make an artwork, I re-live the moment of the concept I want to convey. So as you could well imagine, this was a very difficult painting for me to work on. But it was worthwhile painting it, I feel I needed to do this.
Glad it’s finally finished though!