Monday, 2 July 2007

Happy Mondays

OK, I know, not much for anyone to get their teeth into lately. I shocked myself when I figured out that it had been three weeks since I last threw paint onto canvas. Outrageous.

The thing is, I find on the run up to a show things accelerate to a frantic pace. Then, as soon as the thing is over everything goes a bit slack.

"Whoa !" you say, "Groundbreaking self awareness laughing boy"................but it's this boom and bust thing that makes my head hurt.

Trying to stay consistent can be a bit of a struggle.

In another blinding flash of intellect, I worked out that I needed to get back in front of the easel fairly swiftly.

So, today was the day. I began by scraping a couple of layers off my face with a suspiciously hirsute BIC. ("No Dad I didn't use your razor"). Next a lightning traverse through the shower followed by some gravel from the bottom of a cereal box. After donning a selection of the requisite 'tramp chic' painting gear, (available at all good fly-tipped layby's), I manage to fend off a couple of phone calls and escape to the studio.

My best work is often done in a sort of trance. I'm happily sloshing the paint about, feeling my way into the thing, and suddenly I find there is a little bit I like. So I leave that part alone and move onto another area. after a little while longer another portion starts to look like it should, and slowly the whole canvas starts to take shape.

The tricky bit is knowing when to stop. I find it's not uncommon to be slapping the pigment about with something approaching gay abandon, only to suddenly be "back in the room", and find the thing was finished about ten minutes ago..................and now it's all a bit over-ripe.

So starting with a Yellow Ochre and Raw Sienna ground, I scraped and scrubbed. Using a couple of sketches and a photograph as reference, flicking between each as the thing takes shape. Adding Naples Yellow, a touch of Ali Crimson. The merest suggestion of Manganese Blue in the eye.............Don't the names of the pigments suggest great works ? Great painters ? Rembrandt, Vermeer, Michael Angelo. I always feel like repeatedly reciting "Burnt Umber" like some sort of spell, in the hope it will yield mystic results. Maybe that's how they did it.

I knew things were going well when I took a step back, just in time to realise I had finished the canvas. I only stopped 'cos I was in need of a cup of coffee.

Sometimes a lay off is what you need to get the juices flowing.


Bruv said...

Very....very nice!

I check back every day and noticed that things had gone quiet.

I nearly rang!

Keep those juices going!

knifepainter said...

Hey Matt, nice to hear from you. Thanks for the compliment.

Mad busy, but mostly admin tasks.

Juiced right up currently !

beachfreak said...

Sorry, got a bit bored with the post, although 'Raw Sienna' tickled me, however I can't say why on a family blog. Similarly mindless saddos will understand.

But more importantly, it's an absolutely beautiful painting. I think you were fortunate with the subject matter.

Christ, how rude am I tonight? 10 days on the trot at work makes beachfreak stroppy.

knifepainter said...

Hey my freaky friend, rudeness is perfectly acceptable. I am more than happy to take criticism.....brevity is not always my most obvious feature.

As you point out, the sort is not too shoddy lookin'.

You want to stop that working for 10 days at a stretch, makes you a bit grumpy I hear.......

Ana Banana said...

very how you cropped the image. And yes, it's always difficult to know when to stop, when an image is finished. Overworking a digital image is practically impossible since one can always delete...go back to where the image was before one screwed it up. Although the richness is always missing...and the spontaneity--one can only get with real paint and brush.

Yes, a lay off...I've had a long one. It would be nice to discover my paints again, but, truth be told, I am a little frightened to return to the oils. We had a very long relationship, what seems years ago now. And, yes, the trance....usually in the wee early hours of the morning for me. But, now I am so lazy.

knifepainter said...

Get back to it know you really want to.

Just do some small stuff, then you'll be a paint junkie again and away you go !!