Island Life

This enormous painting continues to challenge me

It is 150cm x 240cm on primed canvas currently stapled to the wooden wall of my studio

The main debate with myself is about the horizon line. I am gradually settling to a decision to keep the horizon visible only on the left. On the right the orientation of the landscape becomes ambiguous.

Today I added a pink layer over the darker tones on the top right section and also some ochre areas. And then applied solvent and made some deep marks with a palette knife to reveal the dark blue underneath

laying the groundwork



I was priming a large piece of coarse jute canvas today with gesso. A long piece 3m x 120cm, rolled out on the mucky floor of the studio.

I took photos as I worked as usual. Of the process and the light and shadows. Of me working. Of the canvas up on the wall. Of the fire.Pondering all the while on what I’ll actually paint once it’s ready



Messed with the photos on Instagram later. Cropped. Negative. Brighten. Contrast. The wee pebble embedded in the rough cement render. In blue. In yellow. The fire. The different rectangles. In triplicate.



The studio is always a painting. In a painting. Of a painting. During a painting.

without you can’t get in

It started with a search for something to paint over because I’ve run out of canvas.

I chose these 2 as they are rather boring and not too textured or lumpy

They are each 70 x 50cm on board

I laid down some first layers and decided to turn them sideways

I was thinking about people out on the street during these cold winter nights and started to make some loose marks with solvent and a palette knife. I have some new gold Winsor and Newton oil. Added some of that, mixed with wax, with a roller. The shapes are clumsy and awkward

The song from Paul Simon’s new album, called wristband, the third verse running through my head. The bit about riots and how not having a wristband to get you in the door becomes a metaphor for the excluded and disenfranchised. Thinking about the election of Trump. And Brexit.

http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=40220

Add more colour. Roll over and obliterate most of the scraped marks. Make some new marks with a graphite stick

Thinking too about the desperate situation in Aleppo. And David Wolfe’s moving and horifying before and after photos on Facebook 

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1290315790990889&id=100000374406030
It’s not about pretty pictures

What is it about? Painting? What do we do it for? Why? How? Is there any point?

Darker and deeper

More confusing

I don’t know. But I keep painting

(Header image is another stage on the journey, not the finished image – I signed it then changed my mind)

panoramic

I am really enjoying working on a much larger scale on unstretched canvas stapled directly to my wooden studio painting wall.

The top one shown here, (Martello Tower), is at my maximum size possible, fitting snugly into the full depth of my studio extension and completely covering the wooden panel cladding that is fixed over the planks.( The photo shows the painting cropped of its blue surround, which allows for it to be stretched to an approximate final size of 150cm x 275 cm.)   The unstretched canvas is 120cm x 290cm ( about 4′ x 9’6″)

Here is the primed unstretched canvas, followed by the first stage of underpainting:

The other two paintings are each 115 cm x 160cm  ‘Out walking one evening in November, Cruit’ and ‘Once they danced at the crossroads – ruined gables, Cruit’

magenta & gold

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2 postcard sized pieces on watercolour paper c.10 x 15cm

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& 3 pieces c. A4 sized (32 x25cm)
from a group of 11 works on paper in gold and magenta oil with cold wax medium just completed.
An experiment included in the process this time of painting a layer of crimson house paint ( matt emulsion) above the gesso priming layer and below the first layer of magenta oil and wax. I am pleased with the result that the scraped lines have a more solid red effect than if they scraped right through to the paper because the emulsion is so opaque and has such dense coverage