Out There

One of my clear memories is a sort of feeling of release and relaxed bliss.  At some point I seem to fill up with awe at what surrounds me and the fact that I am able to be there.  There’s usually a big sigh and a feeling of peaceful contentment to follow.  Joy!

What am I rambling on about?

It’s how I sometimes feel when I’m out in the wild landscape.  Here, in Tasmania we have some wonderful bushwalks that take us out among the mountains, rivers, a multitude of various types of landscapes.  It’s where I love to be!  Even better if I can stop to sketch (an artists’ equivalent of smelling the roses!).  You may have seen the photos in the last Studio News.

These works are the beginnings of a new series – “Out There.”  It’s a broad theme which leaves my options wide open.  What will develop as I find my way around the ideas? Where will I be led?  Perhaps, in future series things will narrow down a bit and be more specific.

(This first layer could be titled “Into the Blue”! (I got carried away using my new painting wedge.) There’s a lesson there, but I’m not sure what it is? It’s either go slow, or don’t? Things can work out either way it seems.)

These photos show the first layer for two of the paintings.

(I decided to let this one be more random!)

Where to next? Sky shapes were used to define the mountain range. Later, I added more white to the sky.

I felt the urge to draw into them rather than add too much more paint. So, out came the Neocolour II crayons that I’ve had for ages awaiting this precise moment! (They haven’t inspired me much before, so we’ll see how this goes.)

(This is the painting from above after I had a little play with the Neocolours.)

There are five of these long ones (70×30cm) in the group. They’re great to just wander up to, make a few marks and wander off again. That’s one of the benefits of drawing materials … ease of use!

Is this one done yet? Perhaps!?

New Work

“Genesis” is now available on Bluethumb.

“Genesis” 54.5cm wide x 56.5cm high

Until next time and ….. as the sign someone was holding up in our street this week said …… “Keep your chin up”.

Subscribe here to receive fortnightly issues of “Studio News”.

Click here to find out about exhibitions I currently have work in.

HOMEGALLERY

On My Marks Series

I’m on the move!  With all the work for the final 2021 exhibition organised I started a new group of paintings …. the “On My Marks” series!

The above is a tiny section of a mark making and collage exercise.  It appealed to me immediately. I like the shapes and the flow of the lines.  Now that I look closer, I can see a sneaky “s” hiding in there.  It’s basically a curvy design with a hint of diagonals. That texture is nice too.  The crop won’t be translated visibly into the new work, it’s a starting point, an inspiration!

The palette of colours I’m using is one I’ve been playing with for a while.  Pthalo blue and raw umber yellowish with black and white.  I’ve added cadmium yellow light to the mix.  It’s providing some brightness and a little touch of playfulness.

(The bottom sheet are mixes made with the addition of the cadmium yellow light.)

I started with eight small squares taped together.  To begin, I made some intuitive marks using leftover paint from exploring the colour mixes.  Then, some drawing with water soluble graphite and water flicked about to create a few drips.

Standing back to look at them, I felt they needed a bit more warm colour.  So I added more marks with a raw umber yellowish mix, did a spot of drawing with a coloured pencil, made some more drips and lifted off things here and there.  Then, I left them alone to “cook” for a while.  We’ll see what I feel like after that.

It can be difficult not to plough ahead with things, but sometimes I get to a point where I know I’m just continuing for the sake of it, not because I have a useful contribution to make.

Here are two of the squares.  I’m more interested in the bottom one than the top one.  There’s still a way to go though, so don’t panic!

(The first step of these two is on the left, and the next stage, with more warmth, on the right. A little “spot the differences” moment for you!)

What to do next?  I had a look and decided to do whatever came to mind, or hand!  I started with a bit of collage, then felt I needed to lighten them up with “sky” areas.  I was led by each image as I worked.  (If they are leading me I don’t have to take responsibility do I?)

Sometimes you don’t know whether what you want to do is right or not.  No, that’s all the time really I think!  It means that you do things and immediately regret them.  I often wonder why I keep taking things further when I liked what I had at the start.  People often say that you build up a history by creating layers.  I think that’s true and I have done that successfully, but I’m not convinced it’s the only way to work.

The four images below are the two paintings I picked out to show you earlier.  I’ve done more to them now.  The first one has been turned upside down!  They’re still not done.

(I’m not sure that I like the green here.  Nor do I feel very fond of the blobbiness of the “hill”, although, there are some interesting marks in there.)
(After a bit more work.)
(I quite like the make up of the bottom part of this one.  The colour seems better somehow, even though there’s green here too.  Maybe that sky needs to be taken back to white…..or blue?!)
(This sky seems to bring it to life.)

The others are coming along too, but there’s more to do.  Either more to do or more to learn!  Painting is a learning experiece as well as a creative one.  There’s always more to learn, especially from the “duds”.

Subscribe here to receive fortnightly issues of “Studio News”.

Click here to find out about exhibitions I currently have work in.

HOMEGALLERY

Playing back in the Studio

You have a plein air sketch or an idea you’d like to work with! Now what?

The first thing to do is check what you like or don’t like about it. What do you feel comfortable with? What feels like the place and what doesn’t? Does it rekindle the feelings and emotions of the day? How can you translate those into studio works? Can you crop it to create new compositions? Is there something, anything, you can improve on, that, with the benefit of hindsight, will better create the mood? Or, does it in fact lead you in another direction?

These two crops were chosen from the sketch above. They’re reminiscent of landforms near where the sketch was made. The compositions and the marks within them are also quite pleasing.

Sometimes, sketches lead to work that’s not related to the original work. It might be that you’ve seen something that sparks an idea and it leads you in a different direction.

When beginning this type of thing I need to be careful because, if I try to copy the sketches, things probably won’t go well. It’s hard to reproduce a sketch as a studio piece, difficult to capture the same feeling.

Using the best elements from the crops to begin new paintings is an open way to start. One piece began with collage and the other with acrylic paint.

Collage version

Stage 1 (below) – A collage layer (well, three pieces of collage at least) with some graphite line work, a bit of spatter and a few splashes of water for good measure. It feels ok at the moment. Nice those diagonal lines.

Stage 2 (below) – Adding colour and scratching out. Not sure about this? It feels disjointed. Still like the diagonals!

Stage 3 (below) – I’ve added blue paint to remove two white areas and it feels much better. Wondering about that dark piece of collage now?

Stage 4 (below) – Adjusted that left hand side patch of light blue, making it white again and added some marks. It looks a little better but I’ll wait a while to see how it feels. Still wondering about the black piece of collage.

Acrylic Paint version

Stage 1 (below) – Started with playful application of paint and line. It feels free. So far so good.

Stage 2 (below) – Something told me to turn it upside down, add some paint pen lines and spray with water! Oh dear? It’s too busy now and it’s lost the freshness. Looks a bit grubby too.

Stage 3 (below) – Okay, lets wipe off a whole lot of stuff. In an attempt to tame the image down I rolled white paint over the parts I’d wiped away. It didn’t help! (Forgot to take a photo.) Perhaps there are too many drip lines as well?

Stage 4 (below) – Applied some paint to the sky with a rag and felt better about it so I played around in the foreground. It feels better now. Not sure if it’s done yet.

Neither painting is finished at this stage. As you can see, one thing grows from another and the result may or may not be something you like. If it ends poorly you console yourself with the fact that it was an enjoyable process exploring the idea and increased your stockpile of experience. The work and or memories of the experience may surface again at any time to help your creativity along.

ADDENDUM

Subsequently, the finished painting, “Glacial” (below) won a Commended Award at our Art Society of Tasmania Annual exhibition and it sold as well. After the ups and downs of its creation, who would have thought that would happen?!

Subscribe here to receive fortnightly issues of “Studio News”.

Click here to find out about exhibitions I currently have work in.

HOMEGALLERY