I posted a version of this before, but on further reflection, felt I had pulled back too far from the subject and allowed other distractions into the first version. This time I have focussed on the figure – getting him to fill the frame and even truncating the legs to fully take in the twisting of the upper body. I like the movement of the pose and the sense of optimism it suggests – which for this glass half empty person is a feat in itself.
Coupled with the English announcement of the start of the lifting of Covid restrictions then this may have a further resonance – though as every kite flyer knows, a change of wind and the kite is soon back down around your feet – leopards and spots…
For us in northern climes, a taste of what`s to come – that is, if they let us out the house .or we stage a breakout.
At this moment we should be cruising down the Nile – a holiday booked well over a year ago and I have been looking forward to seeing the sights of ancient Egypt that seem to be constantly on the television here. I was also eager for some time on deck, in the sun, painting the passing countryside as we cruised down river. So hopefully next year.
With this painting I liked the movement of the front child in the water and the gambolling dog. It looked a bit unconnected so I introduced a second child and pulled the dog into the man, who appears to be texting or reading his emails. In that format I have created a diagonal that hopefully reinforces the energy of waves and bathers.
I posted a version of this painting in early January. At the time someone commented on the bottom portion of the painting; that it needed reducing. I had to agree with this useful suggestion and decide to extend and expand the narrative of the passing places down the canvas.
In the end I reworked two thirds of it, making it look like a collection of snapshots along this single track lane close to where I live – a record of a journey perhaps. The passing places, emblematic of how we have to compromise and defer on our journey through life – well, most of us anyway.
I certainly like the idea behind this painting and how the greys characterise the place and the vibrancy generated by this colour against the oranges and yellows in the sky and fields.
I have struggled with this painting and have decided to stop and have a rest. Publishing it will allow me to create some distance and ponder. I need the space: of late I have found my painting getting slower and slower and decisions taking longer and longer to make.
This painting comes from an old photo of a country lane near to where I live. I love the incongruous angles of the posts. The photo is below along with marks and water stains made by me.
I wanted to break the image up and decided to do this in a landscape format, like the photo. I did some thumbnail sketches.
And off I popped on a 75x50cm canvas. Before too long doubts crept in and out crept the gesso. Well the gesso came out after I had completed a new acrylic sketch over an old painting, which retained a lot of its original colours.
I thought that this format might be better so then the gesso did come out and I completed the painting at the top of the page. I thought that the notion of the painting being in three parts, with each part slipping past the other, echoed cars on this track having to negotiate past one another. I was reminded of that piece of performance art – Imponderabilia” Marina Abramovic where visitors had to squeeze between the naked artists stood at the only entrance to the exhibition. I apologise that this piece isnt as unnerving or erotic – but then that’s what you get on a Monday morning.
At last I committed the recent ink and wash sketches to canvas. From all the sketches, I had an idea of what I wanted to try, but the new surface created a different rheology with both the ink and the paint. The paper I used for the sketches seemed to draw the ink from the dropper allowing for extended lines. This didnt happen on the gessoed canvas and it was hard work creating the flowing lines that I wanted. Splattering the line work with water created far more diffuse effects than I had previously experienced, mainly because the ink sat on the surface and then reacted more dynamically to the water. And before that, the underpainting took a lot of effort to control, particularly on a more extensive surface, so from the start, the colour fields I had wanted were quickly abandoned in the pursuit of simply avoiding mud.
So I finished with this breathless piece which took on a horticultural demeanour as I struggled to control the paint – like herding cats, though at least I wasnt scratched or bitten in the process.
You may have picked up a certain dissatisfaction with my previous post and I did manage to find the gesso – so here is another version. I wanted colour and it is needed on this, our shortest day. A blast of summer.
The flattening of the perspective gets the viewer closer to the action of the switchback road that can even make the sedate cyclist queasy. It also clears space for a rush of colour for the sheer sake of it. Even if it isnt the finished article, I am closing in.
Still playing around with the inks and washes. I am trying to get something to work up onto a canvas. So far I feel the simplicity of the pieces just fail to maintain interest on a bigger scale. I am applying the ink with a pipette but get much more interesting lines with my broken pipettes rather than the ones supplied with the acrylic inks. The one on the right, above, was done with my broken pipette as opposed to the one supplied with the ink on the left. Although I did like the effect of mixing the different coloured inks in the lines on the image on the left , the blue is certainly a less strident colour than the black..
The style and orientation of the lines also bring their own images, such as the grid giving an urban feel on the right above.
So with another difference in orientation of the lines, a more nautical feel emerges which is then reinforced with colour.
Here, above, I`ve tried to add further textures though I dont feel that it has moved the image on much and made it more messy. So I will keep on playing. Fortunately I have a lot of discarded paintings I can work on the back of.
There has been much uncertainty and quite a few false starts of late with my painting. I have been wanting to produce some stylised landscapes in acrylic alongside developing the ink and wash paintings I have shown recently. Not much progress has been made.
With the landscape, I couldnt settle on a subject. Then I recalled a wonderful morning I had spent on Cleives’ Hills this summer, with my watercolours, painting some cottages on the edge of the hill. I put the painting I did that day on the blog some time ago and I enclose it below.
I thought I might try this scene both in watercolour and acrylics. So here is the first one, in acrylics, with the cottages and the view of Liverpool in the morning haze in the distance. Fresh off the easel. There may be some more changes to be made, though I think I ‘ve got the punchiness I was after.
With the lifting of the complete lockdown I went into Liverpool and got myself some acrylic inks this week. I am thinking of putting some of these line and wash style images onto canvas. Up until now I have been using standard inks for the line and watercolours to add washes and I feel I need acrylic inks to apply to canvas. This one above is done in acrylics on paper with acrylic ink, liquid acrylic and heavy body acrylic. I am happier keeping it simple than adding layers of complexity as I did in the one below.
In this one I used black and white inks to create the lines and I feel that has some mileage for developing.
I am still playing around with standard ink and watercolours as they are quick to do and here are a few more below.
The one above is a more complex version of the first painting and I dont think the complexity adds much value.
Putting ink onto a wet surface can give an overpowering effect especially with black ink, so it needs to be done sparingly. I did buy some red, yellow and blue inks and havent yet started using these. They look more potent than the liquid acrylics I use.