I have not posted any paintings in the last couple of weeks: I was working on a commission for a series of 14 paintings for a gallery. Here are four of the pieces
After completing the commission, I felt a bit numb when facing a blank board.
I have talked before about having strategies to kick start or open up new possibilities of working but since I’ve been asked a few questions from viewers of my more recent video, I thought it timely to give some details about how I sometimes work.
The tile of small studies below are each 4.5″ square that might inform larger pieces but are essentially a way to free up.
They are a series of acrylic bleeds on 2 sheets of heavy watercolour paper, size A2, which I have then cut up into squares. Once they are cut up, I enjoy turning them upside down or 90 degrees left or right till I see a possible opening.
This seemingly haphazard way of working, apart from the regularity of cutting up the same size, is a great way to free myself up.
It is really important to have fun with paint and colour, to keep an open mind and a child-like attitude to play with no expectation nor structure.
Giving time to explore helps me replenish the well of creativity.
To see something from “nothing” is endlessly fascinating.
I have mentioned in a previous post how Da Vinci had a similar approach. He looked for imagined landscapes in the stains on walls.
When working on this part of the painting I use all sorts of tools and implements. Straws, cotton buds, Sponges, rollers, paint knives, my nails and of course, rags.
First, I spray the board with a mix of water and acrylic flow extender to facilitate a watercolour-like bleed and encourage the colours to blend into one another.
Then, as you have probably noticed, I move the board around.
The action and flow of the paint can give me a glimpse of something. When that’s the case, I follow it to see where it takes me. An arrangement of colour or tone appears, often a vague outline that triggers a memory recall or something from my imagination.
I leave the acrylic under-layer to dry for a day or two. The colour saturation gives depth and complexity to the finished pieces.
I then proceed to work in oils over the top, completely covering the board in either glazes or textured paint.
This way of working acts as a catalyst dredging emotions or feelings from the past of places seen or felt.
When I see and feel nothing at all, I wait a day or two and look at the paintings at different times of day. Often when I see things in the half light of morning or evening, I see an opening into the work.
This is just one way of refilling the well.
I would love to hear what you think.
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