I have been interested in the notion of the palimpsest, intrigued what may have gone before indicated only by traces, like scraping away the soil over a historic ruin. This has been done on canvas in many ways with, notably, Lucio Fontana and many others. I did a number in this style a few years ago, but they were fairly dour when I was exploring time and landscape. This is maybe a more colourful period, a glimpse of summer perhaps.
Some time ago I posted a version of this painting: see below. It has stood in my studio ever since and I have viewed it on a daily basis. The other day I felt that it lacked structure and tonal contrast, so I took a photo of it, printed a few copies, got the pastels out and played around. I am a lot more excited by the second version. Also with the weight of tone at one end I also decided to turn it the other way up.
Halfway through assembling my upcoming exhibition I thought that I would take a break and mess around with some acrylics. These are liquid acrylics and full bodied acrylics along with some fillers to give texture that doesn’t appear to be showing too well. Anyway a bit of colourful fun.
Having been playing with ink on my life drawing, I started using it on some watercolours to give them some real tonal range. This one was inspired by my recent trip in Bolivia. Driving through the desert of the altiplano and seeing the dusty collections of buildings around a mine shaft in the middle of nowhere you wonder about the riches in the ground.
Well, it’s a bit of a cheat, but I have just been adjusting this painting. I painted this a few years ago. It was a big piece so I decided to cut it up. I sold one slice a couple of years ago – a bit like pizza. The other week I sold another two. So I was going through my work and looked at it again with the intention of glazing it as I had glazed the two I had just sold and they looked so much better. I felt the original was a bit unbalanced, so I added some more colours in the top left and middle. It looks more coherent now and when the paint dries I’ll get the dammar varnish out again.
I was playing around with some small pieces of pastel paper I found in an old sketchbook, just exploring some possible subjects. On one sheet I wanted to create a stained glass effect, using the trunks and branches of trees as the lead support. As I worked the image seemed a little stilted with the dark interstices so I started to overpaint some of the branches and trunks with the blues yellows and greens and with some blending it gave a pleasing effect. Once I fixed the painting I could then overlay further colour and built up the image, creating texture with the top layers.
I was pleasantly surprised with the result; the image has an undersea feel, which might open up some other images. I might try a bigger version and then work out from there. For the moment here’s the first version.