Exploratory Project 4

Time Lapse – completed paintings.To March 16

I decided to call this group Time Lapse. I felt this title was ambiguous and could refer to physical time lapse and changes in the landscape was well as the emotions felt over a given time too. It helped me to stay a bit more removed and free too.

The 4 painting had their own specific rules as well as the generic ones previously stated.

  1. A good day
    Vibrant, over-exaggerated and saturated colours. ‘Unseen’ colours. Doesn’t have to be literal – think Hockney’s theories (from A Bigger Message conversations with Martin Gayford) around depiction – that your mind sees your focus point as much larger than it really is in the surrounding area and it is OK to show that. Lots of my happy colours – blues/golds/oranges.
    Start 11.15am – finish 2.10pm
    I tried out lots of different techniques and ways of working with this. I took licence with the colours and focus of the landscape (differing from the source material); laid down some base colours and then worked with a generally dry brush. I part dipped my brushes in pure hues and mixed them on the canvas (my colours are usually beautifully blended). I tried to keep the brush-marks broad and unfussy and had to pull back when I felt myself adding details. I added the reed stalks in rapid flowing movements, unconcerned about placement and in a variety of colours – many false. There was a stage at which I took a polaroid where I could have happily left it, but continued to fill the canvas.

    Saturated colours fight for attention so less can be more at times.

    Unless you are portraying a ‘representative’ landscape, normal rules don’t apply.
    You can change focus, scale and recession.
    False or ‘unseen’ colours make the real colours ping more and add to an emotive feel.
    Marks applied with a dry brush hold much more interest.
    Suggestion is better than accuracy – more open to interpretation.
    Sweeping and broken lines show a sense of freedom (where the reeds are shown in the background – lime green stripe – there is a sense of restriction and a certain tension which is completely lost in the movement and motion of the foreground.
    It helps to listen to energizing music for vibrancy and movement areas
    Who says when you have to stop? If you like it, stop where it is and live with it for a few days before deciding whether to go further.
    Perfect blending = bland colours


  2. A Bad Day
    No happy colours – drained of colour. No clear edges. These are confused and are in the wrong order to create discord. Merge and blur. Apathy rules. A sense of oppression – even under a clear sky

    Start 9.20 am – finish 11.30amAn intentionally quick painting. When I began the top was far too solid – and nothing is solid and certain with depression – so I began to thin it out with water on the canvas. This caused drips and dribbles – but my apathy rule meant I couldn’t go back to fix them and would have to use them. But as I did the lower areas of the canvas I was painting over them and doing the image in the wrong order to create discord. So I started again from the bottom. Lots of water. Tiny amounts of pure colour and a lot of black and white. To help this process I listened to a playlist (Aww) on my iPod I had not listened to since my marriage broke down. It helped. I was fine and this piece became both groundbreaking and empowering for me.

    Even though the colours are all drippy and dreary this has turned out to be my favourite of the 4 sketches. There aer some really beautiful sections in it I could look at forever. But does it convey depression? Or just rain? Well I don’t care! (apathy…). Really, I mean I would prefer the viewer to create their own meaning. Is it rain on glass? Is it your life pouring down the drain?
    There’s not really any detail in this piece – apathy. Everything is muddied – there is no clarity or joy. The bottom area of the canvas is all blurred and cloudy where the colours have bled into one another. It’s almost like a blissful acceptance of this new ‘fog’ this depression causes. Or is acceptance through apathy? Or does it suggest pollution, land or oil formation? I much prefer this unresolved ambiguity. I went on to try this technique on smaller canvases and different colours. One has paler colours at the top and the other bright colours. Not sure either conveys depression, but the both convey oppression. A lack of control. A beauty that you can’t clearly see. The edges aren’t clear and the colours bleed. Ruby Wax once said of depression something along the lines of ‘Put your head in the oven or have your nails done’ because you really can’t tell the difference. Your perspective has completely gone. It’s all the wrong way round. What would they be like if hung upside down?


  3. Frustration
    Limited use of tools – palette knives and a 1″ and 3″ brush only – to create frustration. Work quickly. Scratchy and scrubby marks. No tinkering. Remove paint and scratch into work with knives.
    I reallygot into this piece and forgot to document it until I had finished. I tried to use drained colours – but they got brighter instead. I created a playlist and this really helped me to get into the right frame of mind. It gave me a lot of energy and freeness.

    Perhaps I should have thought of energy rather than frustration. It is certainly energetic. Perhaps frustration would/should have been a small area of overworked detail in a corner. But getting into the music (particularly something by Muse called Space Dementia) was utterly immersive and almost orgasmic! As with most of the others, this is a painting of two halves with the interest lying in the bottom half of the canvas. I also tried a smaller canvas with this technique – but it lacked the space for freeness of movement. I struggle with the integrity of these pieces. I guess they are ‘abstract expressionism’ but they seem so simplistic. They were so easy to create and little thought was required a beyond a climactic 5 mins, that I just fail to see value in them. Clearly I need to adjust my thinking – removing what I know about their creation, they clearly have value. If I had thought or planned them more deeply then they would likely become contrived. Perhaps the thinking should be more about mark-making, colour palettes, mood and movement and let the ‘moment’ take over when I put paint to canvas.

  4. Calm
    I like my work to make me feel calm. I wanted to see how calm felt in marks and colours. A bluey palette only. No tinkering. NO BLACK. Soft, smooth, blended strokes only

    Forgot to note the time – but 1-2 hours seems accurate.I tried to keep to a bluey palette, but already put green and brown in before I had noticed. I broke my ‘no tinker’ rule to correct the blue rule. It took probably longer to do the top 1/3 of the canvas as the bottom 2/3. I slapped big stripes of paint vertically onto the canvas with a 3″ household paintbrush in wide stripes dipped in pure colours and proceeded to blend them horizontally with the same (cleaned) dry brush. I lost some elements this created by overworking it…

    I’m unsure how I feel about this canvas. I like the area of red in the middle – but feel it is out of place with the rest of the painting. Perhaps it is good that this jars a little? It’s quite literal and obviously water. But it is how I perceive Calm. Ordered. The eye is led in a controlled fashion. But there is enough detail caused by the surface to absorb and engross me – but it is a ‘closed’ piece. There isn’t much that’s ambiguous about it or that you can ask questions about. But it is blue-ish. Although I feel a progression for this may be to abstract it into shaped colours and be far less literal.

As a group
I think they work really well as a group and I like the fact that they are pretty interchangeable. They aren’t as finished as I would make a painting normally – so I am pleased that they still feel a little unfinished and I can see that this gives them qualities that are much more interesting than a fully resolved piece. They are often a painting of 2 parts – much as the landscape itself was – and the lower half holds far more interest in all of them (apart from the dripping canvas – which I prefer as a whole) as the top half is conformist, conservative and has become bland and boring.They alsocreatean environment in themselves as they are quite immersive when viewed together.

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