Collaboration Five: Chase and Retrace

Yet again I have been seduced by the large scale canvas and although the manifesto for collaborative working dictated maximum dimensions for works, I decided to go ahead with a larger piece to explore a larger surface growing from more shifting state of Animal. I started my layering process, creating stains, sketching, painting in the negative space. This piece then went off in a different direction where I began to pick out the faces from the background. This is the first piece that I have made within the collaboration which shows more than a a glimpse of face. Initially, I felt that this was a good decision, however, the more tightly painted areas didn’t sit well with the surrounding space. I tried blocking out areas and adding darker lines with purple and blue – the relationship between the orange shades in the background and blue foreground was extremely jarring. Turning the painting upside down made me realise that there were also compositional issues with the left hand figure and surrounding space. I left the painting to gestate and then revisited it again with flat planes of colour to try and address the balance. I chose grey to go with the existing blue and fresh from seeing Richard Diebenkorn’s show at the RA, ventured into using slightly more geometric shapes. Some areas currently look almost abstract – not sure how comfortable I am with this – and there is a sense of splintering of the figure which suggests a different type of movement.

I’m coming back to this blog post, 16 days after writing the original entry as I am still working into the painting. Due to compositional errors before, I have been working in a much more obliterating way to force the figures, particularly on the left hand side back and to accentuate the space and shadow. I played around with blocking out and making the left hand column of space to compensate for the figure being sent in too far to the image. I also started working with more shades of grey and soft blue to create less distracting variations in colour across the picture plane. Working on paper based versions of this piece has helped me to work out some of the challenges I have faced, so I am leaving it for now to gestate!

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