This one was painted in about 2011 I think…. It came about because I went walking in Hope Gardens in Kingston, Jamaica one morning before the sun was too high. It was still hot and humid, and there were very few people around. I walked to where no buildings were in sight and tall trees flanked an open grassy area. There was a row of trees in the centre of this empty meadow, old knotted black-trunked trees, all bursting with waxy red blossoms, and the grass beneath them was thick with a rotting carpet of red.
In the air hung a heady sweet smell, and the heavy drone of bees enshrouded the trees, filling the morning with a mesmerizing spell of sound. It was compelling, something ancient and of another world. The world of bees pollinating flowers, an everyday occurrence perhaps, but here in such a primal fertile way; the flowers dripped with a sticky sap which glistened on the wizened wood, and each lipped waxy blossom oozed orange tendril spikes from their centers, intoxicating the bees and leading them into an obsessed manic crawl. I sat beneath and witnessed it. Thousands of bees…. on the branches, in the flowers, hovering in the air, and crawling over the rotten petals on the ground. I don’t think these trees bloom more than once a decade or so; when they do they writhe with sensuous invitation. The bees as salivating slaves to Great Mother; the flowered trees a manifestation of the passionate throng of Life itself.
Needless to say, this painting does not even go near to doing justice to the show put on (perhaps I will try again.) The painting took on its own life and ended up being in a misty place, far from the hot Kingston plains. The surface is thick with paint though; that’s as close as I got to the fecundity.
I did try again, come to think of it, but still I need to revisit.
There’s so much more energy when I don’t overwork. Areas where there is a true response to the experience, but then I get too involved in the painting of it and the energy is ‘prettified’ and then it’s lost. This detail below is what I’m trying to FINISH with, not start with and then lose…