Studio work 15 Feb 2014

The starting point for experiments on this day was to look at the monoprints I did in Oct 2013 and see if there were any elements I could bring into paintings. I was continuing the experiments of painting on boards. The emulsion had been dissolving into washes of acrylic, so I tried sealing the boards with PVA. This clearly was not thick enough as this also started to dissolve into the work. The next experiments will be primed with the white gesso I have invested in – which should do the job.

I began by using ripped paper again to create masked areas and layered the paint on in order of it appearing in my diary. In some areas the newspaper ‘stuck’ to the painting at the edges where I ripped it off. I left these as Stewart had suggested I should ‘go with’ what happens at the edges – and I rather like this effect. I also created little pieces of paper (as previously discussed with Angela) showing the solid colours of the diary to incorporate into the paintings. I decided if the marks and colours were loose then I would use sharp lines and ragged edges to the paper.

I washed on the colours and overlaid them with no real intention before I started – just as the mood took me. The washes washed away some areas and by the end I decided to wipe some areas back to the painted board. Although this panel has a prominent pink (which I generally despise) I rather like this for its movement and interaction. I varnished over the paper too once it had been stuck on the panel.

The more time I have away from this panel the more I see it as the most successful thing I did that day. Sometimes the best things are the last thing of the day (as in the last session) and sometimes they are the first (as in this session).

The next panel I moved onto was general washes in order from the diary following on from the last panel of the last session. I tried to ensure that some of the preceding colours could still be seen and moved the paint across the whole panel rather than a stripe. I’m not sure if I feel this is too simplistic (given how much I like complex and intricate – although the result is complex and intricate in places). Do I feel ripped off by this? I then added on the paper strip and feel it becomes really contrived. I can see what Stewart was saying about ‘monumental’ work and scale. This is a very small-scale painting, but it monumental in gesture. The addition of the paper stripes really detracts from the monumentality of the piece. I rather like the paper in the pink panel, but really not at all in this one. I wonder at times what a ‘stripe’ of this would look like in one of the standard striped paintings.

I next painted 2 small striped paintings at the same time as these were using the same colours. I wanted to test out crisp and scuffled edges: if I tested these with differing colours then I may be drawn to one more due to the colour interactions rather than the technique. I decided that the sharp-edge striped panel should have a rough edged and blended paper strip and the scuffled panel should have a sharp-edged sharp-striped paper strip. After gluing the previous strips I decided to leave these loose and experiment with where I placed them – photographing them to see what I preferred.

I’m not sure how I feel about these. Does the strip add to the piece by creating a focus point? Does the strip detract by making it look contrived or too graphic? Does it add because it is like a mirror in a mirror and allows interaction of colours within interaction of colours? Sharp stripes with sharp stripes would not work – just too tight. I still think that the stripes can stand alone without any further additions (apart from width variation and varnish) and these will definitely form some part of my exhibition. My next plan is to create some very long panels which are very thin (likely 6ft by 4 inches) for stripes – which ‘float’ off the wall.

I tried the same thing but allowing the paint to have expressive movement by being thinned and overlapping. I then added a crisp paper strip to this of shape-edged stripes.

I think I need to live with these a bit… In some ways I think the juxtaposition of the 2 pieces (paper on the board) is more successful here as one is transparent and unconstrained whilst the other is small, contained and solid. Some of the overlaps do remind me of the Rothko paintings – others are just messy.

I find it interesting that the experiments I find most successful are details from the works made previously.

These are ‘monumental’ but intimate. I have some small canvases and will create some small panels on this scale (approx A5) to make some further works in this vein. They may work well on their own or grouped into something larger.

Next steps

Long thin panels painted with stripes and further experiments on this format to see if ‘monumental’ abstractions can be melded into one another in one long strip/journey.

Individual, intimate, monumental works on the existing canvases I have (these may be transferred to floating panels or stay as they are).

Some drip paintings using the colour diary in order which allows the ordering and interaction of colours within the overall interaction of colours.

Some tests of larger scale ‘monumental’ works. These require much larger brushes and gestures also. Possibly use of industrial tools (paintbrushes, wallpaper stripper instead of palette knife and tile adhesive tools to create texture).

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