one or three or seven

This is a blog about painting (when isn’t it ha!), but its also a question or ponder on numbers. I am enamoured of one and three and seven for some reason. One is the whole, the circle, complete, closed, sun and moon. Three is balance, triangle, ancient symbol of spirit and unity, the trinity, starry, sharp, fulcrum, stable. Seven is mystical, magical, lucky, superstitious, dwarves, seventh son of seventh son, witches and wizardry. And all are prime numbers.
And how does this relate to painting? Only in a coincidental way:

I have been making a triptych (3 canvases that form one piece, I think, more later)
The paintings starting point was the view of the mountains on the road home from Letterkenny a few days ago. It was raining and the mountains were swathed in low cloud. Only really Muckish visible.

So I primed my 3 canvases, starting with a dark blue/purple that would eventually be revealed by solvent dribbles and scratches through the upper layers. Then a blue/turquoise. First photo:


The next day I added some green and a yellowish grey. This was printed over the top, by applying with a squeegee to grease proof paper on a rough textured surface, the pressing the mottled paint onto the canvas and smoothing over. Then some mark-making and ‘revealing’ with solvent to show the dark blue from underneath:



Meanwhile I was also working on a few small paper pieces, using the same colours and processes as I went along, and trying out some mark making too. The marks in these 2 are suggesting Muckish half covered in cloud. Incidentally these 2 are already sold!



The next day I felt that the works lacked depth somehow, and also I didnt like how the colour ‘blocks’ formed an unattractive lumpy ‘horizon line’ accross the 3 canvases. Maybe they aren’t one work but 3. So I separated them slightly. Then added some new colours, ochre and a darker grey, and rolled over the whole effect, making it more homogenous in the process


Ok, so back to the question of one or three or seven. As I separated the 3 canvases, I was thinking about 3 sisters, myself and my 2 older sisters in my 3 child family, and the ‘3 sisters’ of the 3 canvases, separate as well as connected. Then I remembered that the range of mountains on the road home from Letterkenny has 7 peaks, known affectionately as the Seven Sisters. They are Errigal, Machocht, one whose name I dont know, the 3 Aghlas and Muckish at the end. We can see Errigal and the Aghlas from our house.

So, these are either one work or three connected works, inspired by and featuring the seven sisters




and they might not be finished yet

2 thoughts on “one or three or seven

  1. They were eventually much more orange! And the Errigal and Muckish (1st and 3rd of the triptych) went to the Doorway Gallery as ‘Donegal 1 & 2’. Individually framed, it is particularly fascinating to me that there is a customer now interested in reframing them as a diptych! So not 1, 3 or 7 but 2!

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