Sunday, 15 June 2014


I promised myself I would update these pages more often! I really should get a website going, but I never seem to have time.
I could fill this blog with (mostly floral) photos, but I have also been painting. Yesterday I did some catastrophic watercolouring, then decided to go abstract in a big way.

expression I (space control)
There's nothing like abstract expressionism for releasing one's inner self, and looking at my stock of really ancient pots of impasto acrylic paint (well, impasto now it's been hanging around for such a long time), I decided to recycle a long narrow canvas that had been harbouring a dark, lugubrious oil painting that would have needed a lot of retouching. I started with a clean-up using white spirit to remove anything from the painting surface that was removable, then gessoed over the old painting and painted wet in wet on that, adding stuff from a box of little extras people usually put on their altered books and cards and even in journals. I once tried to go down that road, but it was too messy and what do you do with the stuff when it's made????
NB You can't paint acrylics over oil unless the oil paint is bone dry, which takes an estimated 2 years. The painting I recycled was at least 10 years old!

I once started a "space control" series, one of which is featured in an earlier post. Somehow that idea got lost, but I'm reviving it now. I like the idea of abstracts being control of space - the space on the canvas or paper. After all, visual artists spend all their time filling empty spaces of various size and shape, just as music composers (and performers) fill the air with sound (or silence). Neither 'image' existed before, so it's a creative challenge to put something in our field of vision or hearing. This makes the idea subservient to its execution, which is just as well, since having the idea is not enough to actually make a piece of music or art!

expression II (space control)

Expression II was an almost new canvas that I had started to paint but the idea had not proved very good. I used a lot of paint on both and know they will need work with a paintbrush once they are dry. I used a painting knife for both surfaces - also an unparactised tool for me - so I had loads of fun slapping away with the paint and squirting streams out of bottles and tubes.
I'll include some details because they are quite photogenic. The little circular bits are slices of twigs. I also used jute strips, little shells, small stones and an asymmetrical network that was not very satisfactory. Some of the details will not be clear until I work on them to bring them out more:

expression II detail stones

expression II detail jute ribbon
expression I detail twig slices

expression I detail twig slices, shells and jute ribbon

Of course, this is not the end of the story and beginning of a beautiful creative future! I should be finishing another abstract that started geometrically but underwent a drastic rethink. Here are two views of it - unfinished, of course. I was quite sorry when the geometrics disappeared, but the colours were already overworked, so the blues I'm now using are an improvement. The geometric idea is still a favourite (at least when Michael Lang uses one), so I might have another go later, staying with my own idiom, but using clearer colours, a smaller palette and improving the design balance or just using bits of the design that actually worked quite well.

space control II (defunct)

radical reworking (it doesn#t get more radcal than this!)
blue florals over space control II