You can tell by the way she smiles”
I’ve said it before
– It’s hard to talk about the act of painting without appearing pretentious
A few weeks ago I sold a painting and my daughter gave me some oil paints for my birthday – it set me off painting again.
I kind of picked up where I left off five years ago before I got hooked up in Facebook.
I’d been working then on a series of portraits in acrylic – it was cheap and dried quickly so I could get my ideas down fast. I rocked out about forty of them over the course of 2013.
Some worked and some didn’t. They had a sketch-like quality but also a direction and relevance of their own. Most of them contained that thing I call countenance – a gesture or look that forms a bridge between the canvas and the viewer.
I began this time by working over the 2013 canvases with oil paint. The ones that weren’t up to much I turned upside down and started again
Oil is harder to get right, like painting with mud and it takes a month to dry but the depth and truth of the colour and texture are so much richer and closer to reality or the world I’m looking to create.
Once I start painting with it I want to go straight to the palette knife and “plaster” the surface of the canvas. You can achieve a wonderful third dimension that has to be seen in the flesh.
There is a trade-off between form and the sheer joy of laying on paint for me – that’s the thing and if it’s not there I cant milk it out of nothing. So I tend to be in painting mode or not and so while it is there it’s important to use it.
Right at the moment I’m trying something more difficult again – a likeness.
There is a photo of Hannah that I took.
I’ve come to know her very well and rely on her musicality and spirit
And so to paint her is a given but a hard task too
Her personality is huge and her face shifts
In the photo there is an aspect of her persona that isn’t always seen
That’s what I want to get to
It’s hard to know what separates a valid work of art from something that just hangs there and looks nice or something that never should have seen the light of day in the first place.
I think I can see it straight away
That’s why I paint
With the hope of getting it just right