10 May 2014

Daily painting - transformations

What was once a landscape has become a game of changing colours -

The blue lines in the top row are painter's tape used for masking - had to see how well that works, even if the results were nonsensical. Later, when adding a thin red stripe at top right (final row) the tape would have made for a much better edge - something to remember in future.

Once several colours were hopping about, jostling for position, things got more interesting. The idea for the "patches" was based on my recollection of this painting by Lucy Ward -
This morning's session stretched well beyond the allotted half hour not only because I'm really enjoying "this painting lark" but also because of the colour I chose to add. Yesterday's purchase of a tube of alizarizin crimson demanded using immediately - a nice dark red, to bounce off those lime greens - but its transparency led to "interesting opportunities". A layer added top left intensified the red ... but what next?
(The camera doesn't capture the singing quality of the yellow-greens, especially at bottom left)
 I thought a nice purple over the red a few squares along might be interesting - but the mix of alizarin crimson and cobalt blue was, first, too transparent and horrible, then after another coat, too dark. Never mind, this project is about discovering things like that. Getting a bright(ish) red next to the purple needed more cadmium red than I expected. Another discovery: when dark colours need changing, paint them over with a light colour (white?) first.

At this point the red stripe on the right appeared, for balance. And "downstairs", alizarin crimson over the beige on the left.
Changing the purple involved painting with a mix of ultramarine and white, which was too light, and finally with ultramarine straight from the tube - or rather, mixed with a very little water so it flowed better and made a better edge. I'm using mainly Liquitex and finding that some colours are easier to work with "straight from the tube" than others ... perhaps I'm being too mean with the paint?
With every possible colour to choose from ... as long as you can mix it! ... it's hard to decide, or even envision, what to use next. And this pattern is like a chess game: "If I change that beige in the bottom row into a lemon yellow, can I change the beige in the top row too, or should that be lemon yellow on just half and - what - on the rest?"

When Kathy visited yesterday she asked me to explain what I thought I was doing (her actual words were more tactful!) - that became a matter of "I know what I think when I hear myself talk." What I really like about this free-form project (its "rules" are very minimal) is that yesterday's painting is covered up by today's - sometimes entirely, sometimes in part. It can become something else at any point. Even though I don't really know what I'm doing, apart from developing some technical skill, I'm in control - and even better, I'm finding lots of surprises - and noticing new things in familiar paintings.

Mention of "rules" has made me wonder what they are.
1. Spend half an hour a day painting.
2. Try different things - different brushes, different colour combinations, different subject matter, etc.
3. Notice what happens.
4. Photograph the painting at least once, at the end of the session (but not too often).

1 comment:

magsramsay said...

I've been really interested in your painting processes - I'm thinking of Gerhart Richters 'Cage' sequence - the book shows photos of the sometimes quite dramatic changes along the way that build up such a rich texture of layers.
I take photos as I go along, mainly to identify the point when things go wrong. Constantly correcting means sometimes to have to lose the areas you really like for the sake of the whole