Had quite a productive studio day yesterday, producing two striped paintings on canvas board and two textured paintings.
The striped paintings were taken from my January diary and I have selected ‘one photograph’ from this series that I really like and one that does nothing for me. I then decided to vary the size of the stripes according to my like and dislike of the colours. The order of the colours (and therefore the coding) has not changed, but the emphasis of the colours has been my own will.
I enjoyed painting on the boards. It was easier to control the stripes and create thinner ones. I also discovered it was easier to paint lines with the use of a metal ruler. This stopped (somewhat) the ridge that loading the paintbrush with colour causes – which creates more texture than I would like. The lines are still not perfect – but I have come to feel that it would be pointless to have such a painting. If I wanted a featureless canvas of colour, then I should not bother painting it and just get canvases printed to stretch over frames. However there is a unique and personal element that the (slightly) wobbly lines give the painting. A printed one is too clinical, too sterile: it has no physical connection to me and feels robotic. It would no longer feel about me – but like something bought from a shop: that personal connection and even the rationale has become disconnected.
The one colours I didn’t like was easier to decide on the stripe widths and to match the colours than the palette that I really liked.
At the moment I am calling these She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not – but I am not sure if I will stick with that.
I am going to frame them in a white frame (pre-made) which currently has cream mount board in it – this will need replacing. I want there to be a totally white border around these works to give the colours breathing space before they are interact with the colour of wall or environment they are in. I am starting with a smallish breathing space to see how I feel about this with other works – both in the way it plays with other works, its environment and if the balance is right between painting and frame/mount.
I created two texture pieces with lines and ravines, in my 2 favourite colours – which also work well together as a pair. At the moment I can’t title these at all. The blue piece works best with the stripes running vertically – then the audience can interact with the work, moving from left to right to make the disturbance of colour appear and disappear. The yellow one is harder to make disappear without specific lighting.
I like the striped paintings. A lot. They kind of feel ‘right’: their size, format, materials… They do not need visual disturbances – I feel they are already too complicated and too small to cope with additional textures and glazes. I think those elements work much better on paintings with far fewer colours than striped ones. I’m keen to do larger ones and longer ones. I also enjoy the challenge of colour matching those from my print out to the paints on the canvas. I’m not always perfect, but as near as I can be and I find my ability to mix accurate colours is developing rapidly.
The blue textured painting, I overdid how much paint I applied to the surface – to the point it was masking the textured stripes. So I had to wipe off the paint and reapply it. The wiped surface was really interesting – so I photographed it to ‘bank’ for later. It may be interesting to use with monoprinting. I have also considered using small stretched canvases for printing – would be interesting to see how a canvas would work instead of a sheet of paper.
I’m not sure about the textured paintings. I am finding it very hard to think of titles for them. I also wonder if they are too simplistic. I’m not someone who sits well with minimalism or simplicity: I like layers, complexity and (ultimately) fuss.
What IS good about these flat coloured paintings though, is that they allow you to get lost in the surface and marvel at your interaction with them to reveal hidden things. In the yellow one, it is rather like looking at clouds. You find different shapes and meanings for yourself – in the way that humans need to find something recognisable in something abstract.
What is good about having produced these varying sized stripes (Angela suggested I look at why I was producing stripes of the same width in Another Year – Older) is that they are far more dynamic. The stripes were the width of the masking tape – I had to start somewhere with some kind of rules about the stripes in order to break away from them later. So I began with regimented stripes. These DO work with the disruptive textures – as there is a regularity that is disrupted by the textures – which I am not sure would work so well with the irregular stripes as there would be far too much going on. The regular pattern does hide the textures much more effectively until you interact with the painting.
The irregular stripes do seem to suggest movement, importance and further coding. I am still unsure about the titles – but can’t think of anything better at the moment. They are very literal to ME (i.e. I love and don’t love those colours) but to others could be read as depression or elation at being loved by a woman. Equally if they were presented as a pair, others would switch the titles according to what colours appeal to them more – one mans … is another’s … (I want to say ‘cake’ and ‘biscuit’ – which isn’t right, but I can’t remember the actual phrase!)
From here I am going to continue ‘mining’ the colours from my January diary. I have chosen two photographs (consecutive, in order) for each of 2 paintings. One is mostly grey (clearly when it snowed) with thin slices of jewel colours as they appear in the order. The other is mostly gold – with all other colours in thinner stripes. It will be interesting to see how these develop as paintings – and if the addition of varnishes will help or hinder.
I have now framed these and the textured paintings in preparation for hand-in in (less than) 2 months(!).
These are pre-made, shop-bought frames. I have remounted the panels onto plain white mountboard as I wanted as little distraction from the colours as possible. I am not sure that there is enough space around them – and may wish to see at least double the distance – but I had to start somewhere to see how I could live with this ‘exclusion zone’ (at least that’s what we call the white space around a logo) before going to the lengths of custom-made frames. I’m still living with it and still not sure…