Just before Christmas 2019 Geoffrey agreed to be filmed, by Gaius Brown, painting a new work, Woman with Bird, unrelated to any of his previous series. He had to think hard about this as the creative process of painting is largely a private domain and having to perform for the camera could be highly inhibiting.
“ It was incredibly tense filming those first moments as Geoffrey sat
contemplating the blank canvas, time seemed to freeze. But then the brush started to move, and I realised I was filming the essence of creativity, after that I could enjoy the filming.”
In his own words, and devotees of Geoffrey’s painting will recognise the significance of the comparison, Geoffrey said.
“ The experience reminded me of a moment some twenty years ago when I sat with a fairly blank mind doodling and looking down saw I’d drawn the head of a clown. This pivotal moment led to the clown, jester and commedia dell arte series which I painted nonstop until I’d nothing left to say.”
The painting he created for the film also sprang from somewhere deep in his subconscious and with similar effects; again, in his own words.
“ From that I suddenly had this vision of a series of heads, separate and alone. The period of self-isolation has given me not only the time to paint these but also a type of context and meaning. I call the series ‘Isolated Head’.”
Like the clown pictures these have been totally immersive, hence the 5.30 am starts and Geoffrey has painted with the white heat of creativity, often without a break, until early evening. Twenty paintings in he still has things to say and the strange heads continue to emerge and develop on canvas each day. So, at least one exciting development has emerged from the virus hiatus.
Nick Brown OBE FRSA.