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.

Abstract Acrylic Painting on 320gsm Handmade Rag Paper
Abstract Acrylic Painting on 320gsm Handmade Rag Paper: Detail
Abstract Acrylic Painting on 320gsm Handmade Rag Paper: Detail

‘Abstract art is art that does not attempt to represent an accurate depiction of a visual reality but instead use shapes, colours, forms and gestural marks to achieve its effect’

Tate Gallery

I’m really enjoying working with the brilliance and immediacy of acrylic paint. After using oil and cold wax for most of my recent large scale pieces the ability to create imagery so swiftly and spontaneously is a delight and a revelation. Complementary colour contrast is the guiding principle for this series of paintings and the influence of Cubism is clearly evident in the multiple facets and repetition of geometric shapes. I haven’t yet decided how far to push this study and there is always the ever-present danger of overcooking the various ingredients, only time will tell. Let me know your thoughts, I would love to hear them.

Here is something a little out of the ordinary, definitely not my usual offering, but I thought I might share this with you. I created this video with my daughter, it was recorded two years ago on a handheld mobile phone; so all credit to her directorial and editing skills. I put down the audio track in the house because here in the Fenlands it is always windy and you wouldn’t have heard a single note. Did I hear someone say that would have been a wiser option? 🙂

For those who are interested, this is a Gretsch open back banjo, which I have now replaced with a Deering model. Recently, I have focused all of my energies on playing acoustic guitar and learning the Travis finger picking style. I have to say that the rhythmic style of frailing or clawhammer style banjo really helped with the finger picking. Sadly, I haven’t picked up the banjo for a year… the rest of the family are just quietly delighted.