This is a large acrylic work exploring the possibility of creating the illusion of movement in painting. I am always in two minds about using acrylic and I often find myself switching to oil paints after a period of time. (Please note, you can make the change if the oil paint layer is applied after the acrylic, not the other way around). To be accurate, you can break the rules and add acrylic to an oil base but the results can be unpredictable and tend to make the top layer unstable. The secret for me is not to judge a work completed in acrylics by the same criteria as a painting completed in oils. I have never been able to replicate the natural qualities of oil paint in acrylics and the use of acrylic mediums will only take you so far. However, they are fantastic for making bold statements in colour.
The influence of the Italian Futurists can be seen in this work and I’m currently building translucent layers with the addition of a slow drying agent and various glazing mediums. Speed and confident execution are key in maintaining freshness and immediacy on this scale. I have literally been dancing in front of the canvas in a style reminiscent of Irish stepdance, albeit with my feet anchored to the ground and my arms flailing like a whirling dervish. Let’s see how it develops…those white areas are definitely too strident at the moment.
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.
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.