Two works in progress

Work in progress, small canvas with abstract blue, pale orange, yellow and grey forms. Gary Peters. Work in progress, small canvas with yellow, blue, green, red and grey abstract forms. Gary Peters.

Two small works in progress, 2018

I started a couple of small (8 × 10” / 203 × 254mm) pieces this week. Yesterday, I wasn’t too sure about them. They felt garish and somewhat unstable, though of course are still works in progress.

This morning however I’m feeling quite differently about them. I’m enjoying the rapid development possible in works this size and am remembering how losing my initial marks is necessary to find a resolution for the painting. There’s something quite manageable in working at this size and I’m very tempted to go out and buy half a dozen of these small canvases to see happens.

I’ve also been thinking back to my One for you, one for me project from 2010 – yes, it was that long ago – and am wondering if there’s a way to run an updated version of it. If there is, you’ll be the first to know.

Works in progress on studio wall, One for you one for me project  c.2010.

Works in progress during my project One for you, one for me, 2010.

Unexpected grid

A painterly work in progress with a grid structure. Gary Peters.

The grid like form was quite unexpected. It started as a group of vertical stripes, and not working, they quickly turned into a grid. I can easily imagine using this form in other works, though only time will tell.

The cyan blue is just the colour I was aiming for while the orange triangle (which feels more congruent in the photo than it does in the flesh) isn’t quite working for me. It may need to become heavier and dirtier with less contrast, or perhaps be erased all together.

For now it’s time to sit and look at the work a little longer, knowing it still has a way to go, before turning it to the wall for a few days so I can return with fresh eyes.

Ways of working

Work in progress. Gary Peters. Working this week I’ve been reminded of how different the process of making these new paintings is to the way I make my hard edge paintings.

For the later the final form is known even if final colour choices are not. In these new paintings I start with no such knowledge. Forms are found, constructed, and erased during the making of the work. Decisions about composition, balance, and colour are made on the fly. When there is forethought and planning, this is often abandoned as soon as the brush hits the canvas.

It’s a challenging way of working, with plenty of room for doubt, yet experience tells me to hold my nerve, to sit with the unknown, to be ok with feeling uncomfortable, frustrated and uncertain. Trust the process – keep painting, remember to step away when needed and make sure to return the next day – and all will be ok.

Work in progress

Work in progress, August 2018. Gary Peters.

Work in progress, August 2018. Gary Peters.

Work in progress, August 2018. Gary Peters.

I’ve started to add colour to these new works much sooner than I expected. I expect the paintings to change a fair bit over the coming weeks as I find, destroy and rebuild forms to reach the moment when everything locks into place.

A manifesto (of sorts) 0.2

Be open, be honest.

Trust my instincts.

Embrace the random (it’s all meaningless anyway).

To paraphrase, make the work like nobody is watching.

Make the work like I don’t give a fuck (because I really do give a fuck).

My role as an artist is to serve the work.

Drink the best beer I can afford, and don’t be afraid of the cheap stuff. A cheap, cold lager on a hot summer’s day really hits the spot.

Context, context, context.

Engage with the history of art. Or not. But at least make the decision a conscious one.

In fact, make sure all decisions are conscious ones.

Don’t be lazy.

Push the work.

Be wary of formula.

Good work has it’s own internal logic.

Fight the resistance – get off my arse, get in to the studio and get to work.

There are no shortcuts worth taking in painting – I have to put in the hours.

Amplify my idiosyncrasies.

Intent matters.

Be true (whatever that is).

Never paint drunk.

Believe in my work – if I don’t, no-one else will.

- -


Open your eyes and you will see it
It’s obvious, it’s love.

Do it now by Half Japanese

Work in progress - Guston pink.

Work in progress
acrylic on canvas
508 × 609mm