“It changes your relationship to notions about success and failure, ‘getting it right’ etc, it becomes more an idea of participation, of engagement and trying to make something which is authentic and ultimately an affecting image.”
Wanting to move away from the blues and greens of recent paintings, I decided I’d start a forest painting with a seriously intense colour, magenta. It does still tie into reality through foxgloves and pink-purple heathers, so there is a little landscape-painting logic behind the choice.
I started with adding some texture in thin vertical strips for tree trunks, then once this has dried I brushed over magenta. I added a little red to this for a bit of variation, then left it to dry before starting to layer in colour that will ultimately read as “tree trunks”. If you’re wondering about the background, I did this at Skyeworks Gallery.
This is still a work-in-progress. I have some idea of where I’ll go next (such as refining the darks), but have left the painting at Skyeworks so I’ll have to see if what I’ve in mind still applies when I see it again on Wednesday.
One comment so far from someone who’s seen it has been that it’s “tweed handbag colours”, referencing the bright pinks popular in modern tweeds. Any other suggestions?
“[by] merely suggesting rather than sharply delineating objects, emphasising ambiguity and openness, employing serial methods, and including the viewer in art [a painting] becomes an incarnation of the creative process.”
— Art historian Karin Sagner-Düchting writing about Monet’s late paintings, Monet and Modernism, page 29
Or put another way: look harder and don’t put in so much meticulous detail. Don’t tell everything in a painting, leave parts open to interpretation for people to determine their own story from it. Don’t have detail across the whole painting down to the single brush hair level, but let what looks real from a little distance dissolve into pieces of colour as you look closely. It’s far more interesting.
Thank you to everyone who came to the official opening of my Edges Exhibition last night for your support and enthusiasm, conversation and comments. I greatly appreciate it. Thanks also to Skye Baking Co for the delicious catering, including assorted mini-breads and the cupcakes themed to my paintings — sheep, daisies, and seascapes.
My Painting-in-Progress: Kilt Rock has been moved from my studio to Skyeworks Gallery for my Edges Exhibition. It’s still waiting for me to finish it and as the exhibition opening is tonight it won’t get the waterfall added in time never mind finished. But I thought some people might find it interesting to see a work-in-progress and I’m intrigued to see how people respond to it as it is right now (I consider it no more than two-thirds finished).
I’ve been asked a few times whether the painting in my Edges Exhibition poster is of Kilt Rock. It’s not, it’s a detail from “Edge of Skye”, but it made me think it’s a subject that does belong with my edges theme, so I’ve started painting it. These four photos show my progress. Next step will be adding the waterfall. But it won’t be finished for Monday’s exhibition opening.
“While the existing natural forms remain the same… their appearance changes with the time of day, light, and atmospheric conditions. Similar to the way memory takes things separate in time and assembles them into a new entity.
“…the actual subject of the art is not an event proceeding in linear fashion but multifarious simultaneousness of layers of time.”
— Art historian Karin Sagner-Düchting writing about Monet, Monet and Modernism, page 46/7
The more familiar a location becomes, the more the variations, differences and similarities created by the seasons, weather, time of day reveal themselves, filtered through mood. My paintings are not of one moment in a location, but many; often not one location but several combined in memory into one place that feels familiar. I know where it is, but you probably see it at somewhere else.
The cliffs in my forthcoming Edges Exhibition, for instance, remind many of Kilt Rock. But to me it’s not as there’s no waterfall. That cliff painting is still a work-in-progress that might still get finished in time for next Monday’s 6pm exhibition opening.
I’m sure you’ve heard how soft, northern light (or southern, if you’re on the other side of the equator) in your studio is critical. But it’s all too easily an excuse, another aspect of Never Moving Beyond Liking the Idea of Being Creative. Work around what light you’ve got; your paintings aren’t going to be hung in unchanging light anyway.
This photo shows sunlight blazing through the northwest-facing window near my easel (and sunlight isn’t as rare on Skye as many believe!). Yes, I could moderate it with a blind, but that would not only shut out the view over the sea, but upset studio cat who enjoys lying on the wide windowsill.