Gordon M Scott

The Lost Labyrinth

Fine Art

By gordonmscott, Dec 22 2016 12:06PM

What do we really own? This may seem like a silly question since surely may come the reply, "We own what we have bought!"

As a baseline definition let us cooperate with it and say further, that we pass on ownership when we agree on a monetary worth for which we can exchange it. Neat huh .Also without resorting to money, we can literally exchange it for something else...A painting for another painting for example, or just give it away.

Since on a transactional level we pass on ownership so often in our lives, sometimes very casually, one could say that we are temporary caretakers of all that we possess. From technical toys to cars and houses, furniture to gold and silver heirlooms, they are passed on eventually even in death to those that survive us. We claim to own things for the time being at least, then we tire or want an upgrade. Some people live such an abundant life that they change things just to keep from getting bored or just because they can. God forbid that you don't keep up with the latest trend.

We set such store by possessions, a very telling word, that we hem ourselves in with them behind security alarms and tall castle walls to keep out stealers and snoopers. Our adopted social sttructure is founded on learning as early as possible how to be a consumer. All will go well if you stay in the sweety shop for as long as possible and buy as much as you can whilst keeping a hungry eye on the shelves above your grasp. Don't worry if you haven't got enough pocket money, if you fill out the form and we like the look of you, we'll give you more money for a small, or not so small fee. All this to keep you interested.

Caretakers we remain though. We create and create. It is our choice whether anyone sees our art. Leave it long enough and it will be seen and purchased. A friend or family member has access to your ourput first, but some think that a buyer of this sort is not as satifying as a total stranger. It doesn't really matter. We create and somewhere in our heart we know that it will not be in our hands for long; a week or a few years certainly. As much as we are custodians of our art; we are custodians of our lives. All will change for we are in an evolving, unfolding landscape.

So with all your creative imagination try and let go of the idea of ownership. Be no more than a caretaker who passes on stuff to others. Everything is temporary and we seek fulfilment in the letting go, irrespective of notional value.

By gordonmscott, Dec 22 2016 11:51AM

Two of my solo exhibitions are separated by 25 years. The first, 'Into the Labyrinth' and the most recent, 'Into the Mysteries.'

These expositions do not describe a cycle of completion, any more than a cycle of beginning and ending. Rather they are both thresholds on transformation.

I am stunned that a quarter century separates them, and in between, a life story that has helped to season the heartwood of my being.

One might imagine that over time inspirational themes change, or at the least evolve.

However, l perceive echoes that span the gulf of years; and that is important. Circumstances carry you away on a whistle stop tour of life experience. Yet if some things stay with you, one can bet those very things have a bearing on the truth of your inner being - an answer to the disquiet; a Secret Treasure to be understood.

Lucky then, to have a collection of transparencies in (until recently) a forgotten archive. Artists are fortunate. They may weave a biography throughout their work which may become a form of Rosetta Stone. A tablet, that once decoded reveals a unique narrative of one's life. Soon I can catalogue this journey. Work unseen for 25 years can deservedly hang on my website.

Of course since these works are all sold or given away, one can, provided the transparencies are good enough, commission prints.

I cannot wait!

For me, the artistic process is one of refinement. As early as 1989, the work was seen as, 'coarsely massive and sinister'; an intriguing statement in an article written by now retired art critic Clare Henry.

I often painted canvases of 30 square feet, backed up with numerous small sized oils on paper; but sinister? If unanswered mystery lay within my work, there is a certain irony to this. It was not long before my ideas dried up, exasperation mounted and the work stalled. The reason being, I could not bring to focus the purpose and portrayal of my fascination with the feeling that some miraculous truth lay hidden in observable reality. Furthermore, with growing self doubt I was at a loss as to what particular narratives might best convey this?

Ultimately l sought an answer elsewhere, and this explains the present more positive position. How did this happen? In the intervening years came a lot of travel and researching, rather like the life of an antiquarian from over one hundred years ago. Today I carve out a manifesto in artistic narratives to elucidate the sense; all is not as it seems. Life is purposeful, and where one finds oneself on the journey is precisely where one needs to be. Crucially, the present is fulfilled not just through acceptance, but with full cooperation. This attitude frees inner vision, is insightful, and lo and behold; ideas come flooding out.

Not that this is reason to crow with pride and self assurance. On the contrary, it is humbling and my spirit is appreciative. One is surprised to be in a place unlooked for, unasked. All that remains, is to arrange life in such a way to be conducive to producing...and in this modern world that is another story.

By gordonmscott, Oct 25 2015 02:25PM

Before electric light there was countless centuries of fires, dim oil lamps and candlelight to welcome us after the sun went down.

For the poor there was the rush light and many more ways of gathering round a glow to banish the dark.

What of artists? Perhaps it was always daylight. Yet the seasonal changes soon shortened the output. Patrons must have been extra weiry of the wait once the Autumn set in.

Yet candles and as many as possible was greatly desired.

Are we to wonder then at the beautiful soft glow to fleshy portraits and figure groups. Painters like Shalken, George De La Tour and many others, revelled in the candle in the hands of their sitters. These works are exquisite.

It may be hard to quantify the indelible impact on the human psyche of the half-light of evening and nightime. Without lumination one might as well go to bed after sundown. The rythmn of life back then was different. This may well have meant that life experience was a subtler affair, and sensitivity to light and its varying qualities the general rule with everyone.

The intimacy of partnerships attained ethereal atmosphere. The slightest blemish invisible; the sagging figure barely seen.

In Nature for artists, landscape may have looked softer and the glow of light attained such magnificence because of eyesight attenuated by candlelight.

Switch now first to gaslamps and then the electric light and within some few years candles are forgotten. A way of life that had been relatively unchanged for very many long centuries was gone forever.

Can we be surprised at the contemporary appearance of art now and back through the last hundred or so years. Our way of seeing became crisper, harsh even. Portraiture today tends to show sitters white and pale, almost bleached in its clarity of realism. Seen in a new light, literally. The kind of light one might see in an operating theatre, specimens under the spotlight for us to marvel at.

The gloomy evening in the studio still annoys artists and it seems ironic searching for lightbulbs with rectified balanced blends of light that mimic sunlight.

Are we to wonder then that there may be a rise in a nameless yearning for mystery. Things barely seen, things implied; the half-light again; atmospheric and full of fantasy. Too much artificial light is not good for us. There is much research on this matter and even truly dark skies are the holy grail for astronomers. What artist would not love a large cavernous studio with two metre high windows in the north wall and windows in the roof?

They used to speak of Sunlight for Work; Candlight for Worship and for those that worship at an easel, there is much to explore in a newly enriched creativity.

By gordonmscott, May 5 2015 08:36PM

Many artists that I have met have expressed frustration, if not unhappiness at not creating art full time. More than that, there is a palpable sense within them that they are failing in some way, or worse, with harsh self sabotage - that one's creativity is flawed.

I cannot pretend to have been painting full time, all of the time since graduation in 1986, yet that fact does not compromise my professionalism! Deep contentment when being creative is an amazing experience. Peace breaks out into your life and being. Indeed there is the adage; paint to meditate, and in this regard it has the potential to be both an aesthetic and ascetic lifestyle. Small wonder that artists yearn to do it full time.

However, modern society is a strange animal and social expectations are as numerous as there are people.

If we agree with Robert M.Pirsig's theories on quality, we might easily apply those cogent ideas to success and all that it implies.

Depending on potential circumstances of course; the artist would do well to view themselves as 'fringe' people. We are observers; whether political, objective, subjective, classical or romantic, we partake of society, but remain outside. All those who observe, analyse and respond, find that stance a lonely one from time to time.

As to careerism, should the artist expect that the creative life fits readily into career. One look at artists in the past should calm the agitation in one's heart. If it is the art practise that is the priority, the ideal lifestyle, then we may reasonably conclude that any paid work in any sphere will do. Yet many will reject this.

Things are further complicated by notions of self esteem and pride. The admission that one is an artist, but at the moment sweeps the street to earn extra money will be a shock in the pub amongst one's mates. But then good mates understand and know you.

Art sales....mmmn, the repost to all compromising notions of alternative employ. The word potboiler has dogged me for a long long time. It was first aired by my parents, "Why don't you paint small highly saleable landscapes; potboilers?" The logic is that you run off stuff that sells whilst doing your avant garde stuff the rest of the time. The reticence is, what if one gets known for the potboilers, and no-one wants your more stimulating stuff. Ah, the irony! To speak and not be heard, to create and not be seen.

How many icons, religious and mythical themed work was turned out by the 'masters' of the past to gain commissions or philanthropy? Masters were constrained by the market (largely the church) which preferred figurative content and compositional structure shown in particular ways. Colour palette and narrative too was expected to stay within the proper accepted religious code. Try doing something different and it won't do, it might even be blasphemous.

How vastly different it is today. The artist may hear the word 'current' in regard to style, content and theme....there's an A-list for art too. It's more than implied that of your not current then who will want your work. Ah, nothing's changed really. We operate within self, social and market constraint still.

Have we satisfied ourselves with the notion of supplementary income through any employ? Have we tempered our ideas about success? I doubt we will manage it in jst a few hundred words.

Live; embrace your vision. Creating is a journey toward self knowing. Often overlooked, yet that inner truth, the law of your being; your narrative, is almost an eternal aspiration, a value as profound as love, sex and death. Your insight deserves to be seen, and that unique vision is not a career to be squeezed, sullied or tramelled by the vagaries of an ever changing society...Consider these things if you will, yet step forward with a surer tread!

By gordonmscott, May 4 2015 08:15PM

The profound influence of storytelling underpins our earliest experiences, and I have found an irresistible urge to dedicate my fine art practise to visionary narrative drawing and painting. This has a direct empathy with the mythological and religious narratives of the Neo Classical Mannerist tradition

I use landscape as an emblem for poetic myth and a theatre where the individual as hero embarks upon his quest. Leaving the safety of home, he may venture through archetypal forests where he must overcome some unforeseen challenge. Yet for me we are accomplices’ to the narrative. I painstakingly detail my work with tools, objects, flora and fauna, which provide clues to elucidate the vision. The figure or group may show us something though gesture or demonstration. They rarely perform anything in isolation; rather for me the viewer completes the cycle of the narrative.

I see my work as a platform where I can convey what I have found about the human condition; and in landscape the precious nature of wilderness. The journey can be transcendent; the adventure uncovers hidden processes, almost as if in circumventing the labyrinth, we find a helping hand. The title of the work is never arbitrary; rather it is our first major clue to the story.

The classics have always been an inspiration; how a strong compositional structure was created; how colour, balance and harmony are best achieved. Patience in crafting detail is so important to me, and so many historical works make this a prerequisite to fine art. I make my own stretcher frames and prepare my linen in the traditional way. This is the foundation of the work and I cannot rush the effort.

I like to travel throughout the U.K when I can to source landscape. Yet because I look for a particular quality, more often the moors of the West Country, Northern Dales and the Scottish Highlands provide the eye on wilderness which I search for. This form of alpine landscape has all the components I need to create a theatre of drama and challenge for the figures in my work.

My Blog


I warmly welcome you to this Blog. I will endeavour to outline here all the realtime effort to dedicate life to the Artwork and take the time to tell the story to you.