Sometimes it is actually quite hard to let go of old work, even when you don’t think it’s that great. Maybe some of the issue is when I started using memory as a theme, like I’m aware of what some of these paintings represent, but looking at them now they aren’t as good as I remember them being when I first produced them. I think that definitely shows the progress and refinement I’ve put into my style over the last 2 years. Part of me thinks “put these for a cheap quick sale” but then they aren’t my best and that feels like a tarnish on a reputation I don’t think I have yet.
There’s a new project I want to start soon, having had a rest, hopefully I give details next week as I begin preparation. It’s similar to the last one, but brings in a more personal aspect but I still have a detachment on it.
This week has been a mix between playing with the order of my paintings and which of those will go into the exhibition and editing photographs I have taken over the last few weeks to look like my paintings. A kind of stylised filter effect. I edited 11 photos in total and had them printed on a decent printer and photo paper ready for portfolio or exhibition (I don’t think they will work in it), it’s part of an extra 10 credits for the module. I think they work well. I don’t want to display them with the paintings though because the idea of these is to make photos look like my paintings not that my paintings are to look like these photos and I feel people will get the wrong message. We’ll see though, it’s all up for debate.
“Okay, I’m going to fix the painting started last week.”
Well, it was a nice idea as I walked into the studios at the beginning of the week. I kind of forgot that having left it for just under a week, thin layer of oil paint and an absorbent surface meant it was completely dry when I got to it. I didn’t have the energy to repaint the whole scene nor an image I really wanted to do for a complete paint over. Can’t say I didn’t stare at it for a while like it would change on its own. I actually tried using dish soap on a section to see if that had any affect on the paint. I don’t know why I thought it would work. It didn’t.
I decided to do a light grey/purple coloured wash over the entire painting to try to get the misty effect another way than blending. I then dribbled turpentine down the board before repeating the wash, just to see what it looked like when using an old technique of mine.
I have definitely stepped back from trying to make it work since knowing it’s not necessary for me to have an extra painting. It’ll be a board for another project I guess.
My final two boards arrived earlier in the week so I prepped them and began one on Tuesday. I wanted to try and include another Aberystwyth landmark in this painting. However, my composition was off from the beginning. Firstly, I had centralised the land and sky meeting point. It put me in a bad mood staring at the beginnings of this painting and not knowing how to fix it before blending. So, I followed the advice of my tutor to ignore it and start the other board, otherwise I will not be in the right frame of mind to make it good if I waited till I finished this one. Go back to it if I needed to.
This plan did work, I got a good composition going, working with aspects from previous paintings like the railings, the buildings going into the distance and the little details, I completed a painting I was happy to add the suite I have going. There was some colour adjustment needed on the sandy area when after I took a break from it but easily fixable. I can at least say I have enough paintings to choose from for the exhibition, even I can’t fix the first one from this week.
I know, this seems unheard of from me. I had managed to half prep one of the boards last week and then finished preparing it on Monday and began prepping the next. I can do it when I know what I’m doing and work with less of my procrastinating breaks. Got my motivation roll going.
I Have a New Escape Plan, 2017, Oil on Board, 91.7cm x 91.9cm
Don’t Kill My Vibe, 2017, Oil on Board, 91.7cm x 91.8cm
The first was a play with compositional aspects with the pole creating a cross with the horizon as well as going up and out of the composition. The railing as a difficult one, had to be careful with angles and the blending. Also had to change the tone of the pole because it was originally white and that wasn’t what it was in the photo and didn’t work in the painting. The second was one I’ve been wanting to do for a while because it’s from around where I lived in first year, and where I met some of my closest friends. I’ve decided to play with the titles and name them from quotes of conversations with my university friends, happening on or near the seafront. Still working on them but you’ll notice soon enough that all these pictures will finally have captions.
It has become no secret to my friends, green is not my favourite colour to work with, especially after some last week’s first painting attempt. And there was one painting last semester that didn’t match the image in my head too well, lacking the depth and well shape I wanted. This was Travelling: Home to a Home.
I used the same colour palette of last few paintings to go over it since last week went so much better. No regrets. I could have cooler and warmer tones in it and fade the distance out better than the green that just made the sky tinted. It may lack the vibrancy of the Welsh landscape I wanted to capture but now it feels a lot more real as a landscape to me.
They Make Everything Better, 2017, Oil on Board, 91.6cm x 91.4cm
I started this week thinking “I wanted to paint this scene I see everyday when it’s beautifully sunny”. By the middle of the week I was thinking “I absolutely hate this, I can’t dare show this in my tutorial”. So I didn’t. I covered the green landscape with a greyish purple and didn’t let that dry as a ground coat before beginning the next painting and spending the whole day working on it. I got it done in time for my tutorial and I was most certainly more please with the outcome than the original one. Did have a laugh showing the progress photos with the sudden jump in colour. If you don’t like something, change it, especially if it’s just paint.
I will admit, the green landscape looked better before the blending stage, but it didn’t work for my project for that reason. I am definitely jealous of artist’s who seem so natural working with brighter and vibrant colours, I’ve only managed a one of beauty with those. Maybe that’s my issue, I expected it to look like Passing Moments of Seasons but green. I need to hide that one from view in my studio so I stop comparing my new work to it. I have no regrets painting over it because I currently love the grey mist and the little details that fade into it. Definitely found the route I want to take these paintings for the exhibition.
This painting used the same ground last week’s, Ark Time, and the colour palette was influenced by sections of the same painting. Although the reference was taken on a foggy day, I used the colours and blending technique to amplify to haziness of it all. I feel it has a lot of hidden emotion behind it but I’m struggling to work out the exact ones right now. Like a weird mixture of content and sadness. A nostalgic feel though oddly because I haven’t left this place yet. I’m glad I didn’t half the painting with the sky and land, that would just be a terrible composition for this. Also proud I got the curve just about right for the perspective. Definitely struggled with the darkest area’s colour, hopefully I will still think it’s right in a few months. It’s kind of turned out like a out of focus photograph, maybe something to keep working with. (Name of painting to be added at a later date)
After prepping the boards last week, I have finally completed my first painting for the semester. This is the 4ft x 4ft board to test scale. I painted the same ground colour on this board and the next 3ft one because the two images I was debating using on this are both photos I would like to paint and that had areas with similar tones so the ground suited both.
This painting depicts the sunset through the window in my studio space over the top of some older paintings. It’s a beautiful view worth painting. However, it doesn’t entirely work with my intent. The sunset is too obvious a sunset (clearly) so lacks some of the ambiguity I like having. The size makes no difference to the effect so I will be sticking to the 3ft boards, less time consuming and less energetic movement needed to do the painting (I’m short, there was more stretching and tiptoes as I was leaning over the work than necessary). The colours I used in the window frame though are inspiring for the colour palette of the next painting, The muted palette works.
Sorry about no post last week, I was away from home celebrating the holidays with my SO and didn’t think to bring my laptop. I hope everyone enjoyed them!
I have since returned to Aberystwyth and prepping for the up coming hand in deadline for the semester’s work. Last week I did make some small (and fairly messy) monoprint studies of landscape memories. The hope was the various marks that can be made made the drawing vague enough kind of like my paintings but its not quite right. I do miss practising printmaking but I’m glad I stuck with my guns to do painting, can get a little most lost in the making and change things a lot quicker. At least I have my ink and roller if I ever feel the need.