Coloured Light



Emergence 5
Oil on canvas 40 x 40 cm

Daisy, Bellis perennis
Oil on canvas 21 x 15 cm

Submitted for the Linconshire Wildlife Trust fundraising exhibition, Lincspirational Plants.

Dots 1
Oil on canvas 45 x 35 cm

Dots 2
Oil on canvas 45 x 35 cm

Paint a dot. Paint another dot. Choose the colour and position of each dot in realation to the previous dot but try to avoid thinking about larger patterns or the overall structure. Any patterns are then, to a large extent, an emergent property of the work itself rather than a design imposed by the artist.

Emergence 4
Oil on canvas 45 x 35 cm

As with Dots 1 and 2, and large scale patterns seen in Emergence 4 are an emergent property of the unplanned distribution of coloured polygons rather than a premeditated design feature.

1369 Squares
Oil on canvas 40 x 40 cm

These 1369 squares were each painted a different colour. They were individually identified by a pair of coordinate numbers, a colour was mixed and then the square to be painted was selected by looking up a table of random numbers. Thus I had no influence over the position of any colour.

From the beginning of time, artists have deliberately chosen where to place their chosen colours. Jackson Pollock may have allowed a bit of random splattering but even his paintings are carefully controlled by a creative mind.

We are creatures whose brains constantly seek patterns. Even when looking at a random distribution of coloured squares one is almost certain to notice particular groupings or alignments of colours, but any such constructions are creations of the viewers mind, not that of the artist.

This raises the question is it art at all? In what way would it be different had a machine been programmed to print such a random distribution of coloured squares?

And what of the colours themselves? They were created by mixing two, three or more oil paints squeezed from their tubes, each square requiring a new mix, ensuring a very low probability that any two squares are the same colour. That raises the whole question of how we perceive colour. Your brain, with its mere three types of receptors in your retina, detect light from your computer screen that generates just three different colours that it interpreted from the digital rendering of my camera of the light reflected by the painting. Each of the pigments in the oil paints reflect the whole spectrum of visible light but with different intensities at different wavelengths. Mixing the pigments causes interference, subtracting light of particular wavelengths, to produce the colours we perceive.

The Faces of Climate Series
oil on canvas, each portrait 23 x 23 cm

20 portraits of climate scientists and activists whose chosen pathway of life has been to learn about, and warn the world about, the climate emergency. Not smiling.

These are just a handful of the tens of thousands of climate scientist whose work has revealed the dire future that faces humanity, a future determined by burning fossil carbon in pursuit of our apparently insatiable desire for material wealth, and the even greater numbers of activists, people who have heeded the scientists’ warnings and are dedicating their pathway through life to mitigating the climate crisis for the benefit of future generations.

Alison Green Chris Packham Corrine le Quéré Erica Thompson Farhana Yamin Gail Bradbrook Gavin Schmidt James Hansen Johan Rockström John Schellnhüber Julia Steinberger Kevin Anderson Louisa Neubauer Mari Foroutan Megan Rowling Michael Mann Naomi Oreskes Ndoni Mcunu Stefan Rahmsdorf Warren Washington
For biographies of these people see

Oil on canvas 91 x 91 cm

Old Path Gate
Oak fragments 58 x 41 x 7 cm

In the 19th century a skilled craftsman, using hand tools with no greenhouse gas emissions, constructed an oak gate. It was installed across a garden path. It functioned as a gate for well over a hundred years before being repurposed as sculpture. Today we burn fossil carbon to make stuff that lasts next to no time.
The paths we choose affect the lives of future generations.

Pathways of Choice
Oil on canvas 46 x 36 cm

The pathways we choose, as individuals, communities or humanity as a whole, are many, varied and confused. The goals are unclear, the destination obscure. Every choice we make, whether doing the shopping, tending our gardens or having conversations, takes us further along one pathway or another. Some choices may lead to a paradise garden, a sustainable future allowing us to become ancestors. Other choices tend towards the extinction of life on this planet.
We have agency.

To contact us send e-mail to:
Biff Vernon