Acrylic on Canvas 150 x 100 cm
Detail

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.

100 x 150 cm Acrylic on Canvas
100 x 150 cm Acrylic on Canvas (detail)

A day in the life of a large-scale abstract painting. This is the third day on this particular piece and I’m really enjoying the process of making marks. I’m trying to achieve a sense of energy, dynamism, and optimism. Sweeping arcs of translucent color seem to be the way forward using a broad range of arm and hand movements There is no room for hesitation or excessive deliberation in this approach. As a musician, I feel this approach has a great deal in common with the seamless transitions of ‘slide’ guitar.

100 x 150 cm Acrylic on Canvas (detail)

‘Patchwork’ 40 x 51 cm Acrylic on 300 gsm paper
‘Patchwork’ Detail

Language is a wonderful invention, the moment we are presented with a new word, meanings shift and change, conjuring a world of ideas and thoughts. This painting is a patchwork of shapes inspired by the work of the Swiss artist Paul Klee. It uses geometric shapes, intense tonal contrast and iridescent highlights. There is a suggestion of land enclosures, rivers, lakes and isolated dwellings. There is also a strong sense of rhythm and chord like sequences of colour. It is designed to be warm, uplifting and meditative. I loved the process of creating it.

‘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.