So its been a while since I last posted, I’m gonna have to get a bit more disciplined about this, but as i said – this goes against the grain with me. Its funny that I’ve never had a problem with putting images out there, but when it comes to thoughts – it seems a lot more personnel, like taking you clothes of in front of a crowd of strangers. Its also a bit like telling someone about the dream you had last night. Its all vivid and interesting to you, but are they really that interested?
I havent managed much painting the last few weeks because I have had a couple of other jobs going on, but I have continued to think about this project. I have to say I have my moments of doubt where i wonder whether its all a bit contrived… but I think the original idea is worth pursuing. I just have to watch out that I dont start doing a series of random paintings ontop of one another instead of letting the image grow out of the last stage. The problem is that all the time I’m painting, ( and not painting,) I’m thinking about what might come next, and having a load of ideas about all the different directions it could go in. I get a bit excited about some of them, but can see that I can’t realise them straight away, and that the painting might go though a few stages yet before I get there. So they become like distant staging posts that I want to get to, but am unsure of the path to them. I’m not sure if this is a good thing for this project, providing a rough route map, or a hinderance to the original premiss of following my nose and discovering things along the way.
Anyway, I think I need to spend more time painting and this issue might become clearer. Unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to for the next three weeks because of other commitments, but at least I will be building up a head of steam, with which to hit the ground running when I finally do get a good block of time down the studio.
Here are the two latest stages of the paintings. I would like to be able to display them side by side but for the moment I haven’t worked how to do that. ( plus it probably wouldn’t work on smaller screens.) The Night painting hasn’t changed that much, a darker area which could be trees or some other dark matter has crept into the bottom half. I have been thinking of the Hubble ultra deep field image while working on it, an image that I find endlessly fascinating.
The ‘Day’ painting has taken a more noticeable step forward with the addition of some angular shapes and bright colour. I thought these represent the bright light and warmth of day more than the hazy start. I am feeling my way towards creating a space through colour and shape. But I’m still not sure where I’m going with this. One of the problems is that the subject matter is so vague and big that I could go in many different directions with it. So the parameters might need to be narrowed down in some way. One of the key points that I must not lose sight of, is the dialogue between the two, which at the moment, I don’t think works that well… But then there are bound to be stages when they get out of kilter with each other. As everything does in life…
A state of Flux…
So I have made a start on both paintings. I thought I would give them the opposing themes of Day and Night, or Light and Dark, as a loose starting point. Hopefully they will develop some sort of dialog between them and I expect this to evolve as time goes on. Already, as soon as I started painting, I have been changing my ideas as to the direction I think they will go in. Its amazing how reactive the painting process is. As marks build up there is a certain amount of serendipidy that takes place. Some of this is a reaction to a mark or colour not coming out quite as imagined, and some is the wandering of the mind as you get into the zone – Painting is a kind of meditation and with other thoughts blocked out, the mind is freed to go in new directions.
The first marks are always a pleasure on a big blank canvas (140cmx190cm) I think it goes right back to my early years scribbling over a white sheet of paper. There is plenty of room for big gestural marks and nothing to mess up yet…
I was imagining a hot sun and a red parasol…
But as more paint went on it developed into something more atmospheric
It all got a bit hazy
Night has a much more obvious starting point – it just needs darkness.
I dont know if the darkness is imploding or exploding
But it ends up as a starfield….
More firery by nights blackness
This is a new project I am starting, that will culminate in an exhibition at Black Swan Arts in the autumn.
This will be an exploration around the point at which a painting is finished. It is a problem that many artists battle with, particularly in mediums such as oil where one can carry on working the surface for weeks, months and even years. This decision is normally unseen, many artists don’t like to show work that is not finished, including me. This project to lay the process bare, goes against my natural instincts. Many factors can influence the decision to down brushes and call a work finished, but one of the major ones is the fear of losing what is already there. I would like to resist this urge and carry the painting on to a new stage. To throw away the bird in the hand in the hope of getting the two in the bush… I am hoping that by forcing myself onwards in this way I will learn more, that the painting will gain integrity though perseverance, and at the very least, build up lovely layers of thick paint. Of course it could all end in a big brown mess, but thats part of the challenge.
I will be posting pictures of the various stages as I go along, and inviting candid comments from anyone out there as to whether they think its finished, or whether it would benefit from more work.
Apart from this post which I’m sticking to the top as some form of explanation, the process will appear in reverse with the latest stage at the top – so to see it roughly chronologically you will need to scroll to the bottom first.
Lazy Blank Canvas
This is always a moment I savour, a lovely blank white canvas, full of potential. Of course some might say that it is already finished, the mind’s eye could fill in what could be, and maybe that imagined image might be the best stage, because it can be anything to anyone. But I can’t leave it there… even though I do love running my hand over its smooth taught surface. Its calling out for colour, the first marks are often the freest and most expressive and there is fun to be had…
Welcome to my site, I am an artist living in Frome, Somerset, UK and this will hopefully become an occasional repository for thoughts and general updates on my work…
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