Decaying Beauty

I am back in Ireland, still busy absorbing and processing glimpses, impressions and ideas. We spent quite a few days going through France on the way there and back, getting lost, being slow. I came across this scrapyard when I was looking for someone to give me directions. I love everything about all this decaying french elegance. The timeless beauty of their iconic bone structure. The amazing work time and weather did on the paintwork.


I am always drawn to the patina of decaying surfaces and turning into this yard was like stumbling across a sweet shop. I am forever trying to mimic these layers of time in the background washes of big canvases. The most illusive element is the dryness. The dryness of paint peeling off a wall or the dry sheen of an old car, blunted like driftwood. The only thing that ever comes close to that effect is an abundance of pure pigment but its dry beauty vanishes the moment you try to make it stable.


It's not just their surface though. There is something so special about the shape of vintage cars, even if a conscientious owner kept time at bay. I bet these nuns would keep their little Cinquecento looking like this for another 50 years. The initial owners of my first van were nuns. It was in perfect condition when I got it, waiting for me to ruin it. I drove down to Italy in it a few times. It was getting so raggedy that every time we joked that it might not make it back and being a holy van might go on to die in Rome. It always did make it back to Ireland and no doubt by now is a pristine example of decaying beauty standing conscious of its own allure in a field somewhere.