Studio: December

After a phenomenal tutorial, I really felt that I had a number of quite key points to act on in order to develop my ideas. On reflection, knowing the impact of these moves on how I am thinking now, I should have stuck with my original intentions for the Final Project from the start in terms of scale, although I do understand the value of experimenting on a smaller scale. However, I am trying to capture a more gestural and spontaneous sense of paint on canvas on a larger scale – there is no way that I will be able to develop this technique by working smaller then realizing bigger. Anyway so I enthusiastically made my canvas stretcher, quickly realised that my existing canvas rolls are far too small to stretch over so had to by a huge roll at great expense of 256cm wide canvas – can’t physical carry or drive it anywhere whole…certainly this is an incentive to make many more larger scale pieces.
Exploring massive and tiny
The scaling up or down is not the challenge – it is working quickly enough on a larger scale. I have adopted some larger brushes and started to paint more instinctively rather than going through a process of filling in. (This is not how I usually work but when working from photos, there is a sense of work from an image to create a copy, rather than making a painting which could end up anywhere, with the image as the starting, not the end point.) 
Blocks of colour
An idea that we discussed was how I layer and use lots of different colours all over the surface of paintings – the eye can only travel a short distance until it encounters another colour which may interrupt the flow of the work. I have tried mixing pots of colour rather than mixing as I need more on a palette to reduce this variation in tone which is sometimes due to time lapses between colour mixing. It is very difficult yet again to break making habits but I have tried to paint more blocks as a base to apply the initial colour – this goes against what I believe works aesthetically but does allow me to work up some areas with more detail to guide the viewer and limit the colour palette to some extent (all the work I have looked at seems to have some palette limitations imposed to a greater extent than I have been).
Non-naturalistic colour
Green is banished for the time being. Just because the settings are outdoor does not mean that the environment needs to be green! I may however, experiment with a green shade as under painting later on so there is a trace or fragment of green.

It has been great to get making and build on the momentum of new feedback. I hadn’t realised  that yet again I had settled into my making habits, but with a studio rearrange and the twin painting from the summer visible I am trying to draw on elements that worked and break from those which didn’t. I will try to continue to paint instinctively rather than picture making as I believe there is spontaneity in this which may translate well on the canvas.

One Month Reflection
The process of painting instinctively is easier said than done. I have tried some techniques which have loosened up my making process e.g. spontaneous mark making and mono print. I have played more with using larger brushes and obliterating sections of the image. I haven’t done much to this big painting since this point – the faces seem static still but the balance is better where there is loose painting and drawing in other areas. I don’t think it matters that I haven’t moved this piece forward as the early process and bravery needed to make this painting marks a change in my practice. I also have continued to break from my making habits which according to my time plan, I have built in enough time to do more playing and experimentation before I start to generate my final show body of work.

Examples of pots of paint for block painting.

Image 1 – Diagonal composition (top left to bottom right). Block colours to describe environment – white as yet no decision about colour.
Image 3 – Used minimal colour to add to faces – trying to get a balance between fixing and remaining fluid, using under painting techniques with a possibility of not adding extra layers. Also using similar palette to background (still avoiding green) to unify the surface.
Image 2 – Added ‘crimson lake’ to foreground shape building on previous research into colour perception foreground and background. I realise that the figures already seem fixed due to white block shapes, however these fundamental shapes can change with the evolution of the composition.

Detail of faces – expressions based on 5 minute smile concept

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