This is a large oil painting on a 122cm x 92cm professional quality canvas. It is semi abstract and expressionistic in terms of technique and style. It is however, based on nature and the abundant growth seen in the hedgerows of the fenlands of East Anglia. Trees, brambles and woody shrubs such as hawthorn, blackthorn and field maple make up a mature hedgerow. The material and paint is applied with a variety of tools including brushes and palette knives. The surface is built up in heavy impasto layers and translucent glazes over a period of time. I have been influenced by the contemporary artists Anselm Kiefer and Gerhardt Richter.
…..And what you thought you came for Is only a shell, a husk of meaning From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled If at all. Either you had no purpose Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured And is altered in fulfilment. There are other places Which also are the world’s end, some at the sea jaws, Or over a dark lake, in a desert or a city— But this is the nearest, in place and time, Now and in England.
This is a painting about music, rhythm and the rich aural textures and the timbre of sound. The chords and colours of the painting reflect my interest in the acoustic guitar, its tonal range and versatility. The curved and straight lines found in the shape and structure of the instrument are used to provide contrast and compositional harmony. Elements of Cubism are evident in the multi-faceted viewpoints and the intersection of foreground and background spaces.
This painting is part of the geometric tradition of abstraction and is reminiscent of the ‘hard edge’ American abstract painters of the 50’s and 60’s. The colour is applied with a glazing and staining method using successive layers and washes, enhancing both depth and luminosity. Spatial qualities are carefully controlled with certain vertical columns alternately advancing and receding. The addition of iridescent gold paint contrasts directly with the blues, reds and purples of the surrounding space. In different lighting conditions, the metallic and reflective surfaces radiate light.
Working with acrylic is a very different experience from oils. Somehow, the colours are more saturated and intense. This piece is at a critical stage…I haven’t decided yet whether it is finished. We will see.
I tend to use materials in experimental ways, often going against traditional principles and recommendations. This particular painting uses a wide variety of tools and materials, some conventional, much less so. The list of media includes, oil, cold wax, bitumen, acrylic, chalk, pumice, tissue paper and card. The tools range from palette knives to barbecue skewers. In my next post, I will take you through the process from beginning to end.
This highly textured painting on a solid oak block has just been sold to a collector in Scotland. Oak has a very dense grain and provides a resilient surface for the cold wax process. A variety of tools can be used with confidence to create a range of natural textures and fine surface markings. Multiple layers of wax have been used to generate the illusion of depth and translucency.