Alan Bowness comments, 'Around 1950 it was Pre-Columbian gold work and Syrian seals that aroused his [Davie's] greatest interest; a year or two later the art of Africa and Oceania became more important ... Slowly, however, oil painting, at first usually on board, chosen for hardness (and cheapness), assumes more and more importance. Davie did not use ready-made tube colours: already in 1948 he had begun to make his own paints, mixing permanent powder pigments with oil and turps to a thin creamy consistency ... Heavily outlined, regular, flat shapes appear in many of the paintings of the early 1950's - squares, triangles, lozenges, discs, half-moons, which often detach themselves from the dense disorder behind them and float forward out towards the spectator ... For Davie all these shapes are at the same time symbolic (and thus he is not an abstract artist), but the use of symbols is always intuitive and their meanings can never be exactly defined' (see A. Bowness (ed.), op. cit., p. 171).