This painting 'The Gilded Age' is a multi-layered mixed media work on canvas and it represents a continuation of my engagement with nature and land. The materials include bitumen, oil paint, cold wax, enamel and gold leaf. The rich, ornamental surface consists of multiple layers of oil and cold wax, with pronounced lines, marks and texture. The enamel gold paint has a soft patina and mirrors elements of the colour and tones of the immediate environment. Diluted bitumen has been used to soften the tone and introduce the illusion of aerial perspective. Gold leaf has been applied selectively to some of the vertical forms and provides intense points of golden reflective light. For me, the abstract nature of the work reflects the reality of growth, flowering, decay and renewal. This painting is intended to be meditative, there is no single focal point; it is concerned with serenity and contemplation. The falling and rising arcs of paint are a celebration of movement, growth and change and are designed to be hypnotic and calming. If you have any observations or questions, I would be very happy to reply. The idea is just to start a discussion about painting, about realism and abstraction. All ideas are welcome.