Journal

Seven paintings

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Seven paintings.

Work in progress – seven paintings

It’s almost the end of the month and my self imposed deadline. While there’s still some painting to be done I’m not feeling any pressure to push these works further, though I half expect a couple of the paintings to nag until they’re resolved more fully.

Over the coming week I’ll sit and look at the work, assess what’s working and what isn’t. Hopefully there will be some surprises and I’ll begin to form a clear idea as to what next.

Pushing and looking

Staging strip - work in progress.

Staging strip – working title – work in progress

My aim with these works has been (and still is) to have six finished paintings by the end of the month. This will give me the foundation and directions for my next body of work. I’m also keen to find the language to use around these works and, as odd as this may sound, gain some clarity around how I want to approach making paintings.

Right now I feel I’m not pushing and changing these works hard enough, yet I’m also wanting to live with them for longer. I’ve noticed how my comprehension of the work changes over time. Only this morning, in the work above, did I see the deep red/brown area as a stage or platform with forms sitting upon it against a green vertical backdrop. Previously my concerns lay with the strip running diagonally across the work and how it sits in relation to the areas above and below. It may still need to come forward some more.

With regards to pushing the works, one solution may be to have more surfaces on the go with them entering either a “rapid change” or “slow gestate” stream. Something to consider for the next body of work, but now I’ve got a few paintings to finish.

Internal energy, integrity and painting structure

Clutter - work in progress

Clutter – work in progress – 14 September 2018

The painter Alex Katz talks of paintings having their own internal energy. Imi Knoebel refers to works having (or lacking) integrity. Somewhere along the way I was taught good painting has it’s own internal logic.

As Clutter develops I’m increasingly aware of this logic. The various angles created by the forms combine with the direction of the brush marks to build the work’s structure. I’m not thinking about composition per se but how these forms interrelate.

Colour relationships play their part too. I’m particularly liking the lilac and green at the centre top of the work. The black is mostly working but not yet with the right hand side of the painting. There’s more to be done (on the right hand side) and I’m wary of losing the subtlety of the existing paintwork.

Along with structure and palette, the speed, turn and scale of brush marks, the paint texture – rough or smooth, wet or dry, flat or scumbled – all contribute to the internal logic of a work. The challenge in painting is to combine these (and other elements) to create a coherent gestalt.