[I found a god-damn awful unfinished painting hiding in a draw a few weeks ago… and this is it now. I rescued it, and am so pleased with how it turned out! Today’s lesson: never give up on a painting; there is usually some hope…]
Intriguing Art Idea #3214: What on earth do you do when there are still splodges and smears of beautiful paint left on your palette?Too precious to go to waste. Drench some paper with it. Throw, splatter, flick, smudge, bleed. Work quickly, intuitively, honestly; no over-thinking allowed. Who knows what lovely things and serendipitous accidents may occur! Without the pressure of your own great expectations (and expensive paper) these moments offer freedom and clarity and, for me, often form the starting points for new work.
[For these paintings, I used brown sketchbook pages and acrylic paint; the ubiquitous red and blue (with a touch of sienna) acrylic paint. Imagine them nailed simply to a wall, arranged as a group. Why do I always want to hammer nails into my work?!]
Last week I ventured to the Tate to see their new exhibition, ‘All Too Human’, looking forwards to seeing uncomfortably realistic Freud and soul-sucking, nihilistic Bacon. I also discovered a new artist, who has certainly struck a chord with me… I even bought a postcard. Christ, his work must be good.
The work of Michael Andrews (1928-1995) certainly held my gaze the longest, captured both by the subject matter and his beautiful, ethereal painting style. In ‘Melanie and Me Swimming’ (1978-9) the acrylic paint saturates the canvas; the dark, cool water had seeped into the painting, pooling around the figures. It’s a snapshot of human interaction, a fleeting event that may not seem significant.
With ‘The Deer Park’, Andrews uses luminous washes of colour, muted shades of violet and green. An exclusive club inhabited for eternity by ghostly figures, whispered rumours, illicit dalliances and too much champagne. There is something very Twin Peaks about this… Andrews used photographs of celebrities for inspiration – can you spot Marilyn Monroe?
Giving my paintings titles does not come easily. There is no “concept”, no meaning. They are simply beautiful colours, shapes – does a label get in the way of the painting? Will a name remind a viewer of something else, will preconceptions and associations get in the way of seeing the painting as it really is, for it’s own sake?
Rothko’s paintings always seem to have unobtrusive, subtle names. There are an awful lot of untitled and numbered works, and those that simply reference the colours on the canvas.
No over-thought, contrived names here. I would rather spend my time painting. The image matters, not the name.
A fathers day painting for my daddy. I do like a good magpie (or two) – such intelligent birds, they always look like they’re plotting, pondering what to do next…
The intention was to paint a beautiful, detailed perfect magpie card – this A3 page started off as a mess of practice sketches! As is so often the way, when I came to working on the “real” picture, I just couldn’t get him to look right… all sorts of peculiar-looking pigeons and penguins were appearing on the paper. So back I went and added some gorgeous colour and splodgy ink to this page – really chuffed with this picture, and I think my father likes it too. It is now up in my parents kitchen; high praise indeed.