Acrylic on Paper 20 ” x 16″

The geometric forms in Paul Klee’s compositions have always fascinated me. There is a natural rhythm to his paintings and a disarming simplicity. They look like brightly coloured patchwork quilts. A love of music influenced him, and the recurring motifs and shapes are reminiscent of chordal and harmonic structures. This is a work in progress and I am continuing to experiment with tonal contrast and scale.

‘Walking on Sunset’ Acrylic on Paper
‘Walking on Sunset’ Detail

This is one of a series of acrylic paintings on hand made 300 gsm paper and I’m enjoying the immediacy of working on this high quality textured surface. The shapes and colours of the painting show exuberance and optimism and a delight in the here and now. The curved and straight lines celebrate visual contrast and compositional balance. There is a flowing movement from left to right across the picture plane, which together with the warm colours begins to explain the choice of title. You will no doubt see elements of both Cubism and Futurism in the multi-faceted viewpoints and the intriguing interplay of foreground and background spaces.

Capturing the vitality and richness of oil paint in acrylics is a challenge. Oil paints have a natural, organic quality that is generally absent from the synthetic neutrality of acrylic paints. The way to recreate the inherent liveliness and immediacy of oil is to make liberal use of different mediums and gels. In the final stages of a painting, I am still making compositional adjustments and decisions and I am prepared to carry out radical alterations if it isn’t working. And this is when acrylic paints are at their very best, they encourage and facilitate major revisions of the painting. They dry rapidly and have excellent opacity. Here, I have fragmented the image far too much and need to counterbalance the multitude of smaller shapes with large areas of flat colour.

I have used Golden Mediums Acrylic Glazing liquid alongside Jackson’s Fluid Gloss and Fluid Matt medium. Apart from extending the working time, they each contribute to the feel and look of the paint surface, breathing new life into the sometimes dry appearance of raw acrylic.

As Winter relentlessly approaches I return to the world of fully saturated colour to reprise the warmth and light of the sun. Colour applied with rollers offers liberation from the tyranny and constraint of a hand/brush-based approach to the manipulation of paint. The speed and flow associated with the use of rollers accelerate execution and thinking, qualities that are often missing from a carefully controlled ‘painterly’ style.

Landscape painting in mixed media materials
Landscape painting in mixed media materials

This is a mixed-media landscape painting on canvas. It is semi-abstract and expressionistic in terms of technique and style but there are elements of perspective and simple spatial devices employed in the work. It reflects my day-to-day experience of living in the understated yet dramatic Fenland landscape of East Cambridgeshire. The word ‘till’ is interchangeable with ‘until’ and I have tried to suggest both meanings in this piece. Working with the land is about understanding time and intervals of time, it is about the importance of rhythms of activity and inactivity, of waiting, of anticipating……until. It can also refer to a vault; a place to hold treasure.

The heavy texture of this painting combines gesso, sand, plaster, marble dust, bitumen and oil paint. The materials have a direct relationship to the physical qualities of the land and I feel this gets me closer to the reality of earth. I apply the materials with a variety of tools, scoring, carving and digging back through the surface with multiple layers. I often work outside the studio so that I am not constrained by the need to keep materials and paints in check. I enjoy working in the open air…. like walking through the landscape, it is a liberating experience.

Landscape painting in mixed media materials
Detail
Landscape painting in mixed media materials
Detail