Thursday, February 09, 2017

'Woodscape' #4

Brought to some form of conclusion over the course of the weekend (although revisions may occur upon further consideration, of course), presenting the fourth in the current series of ‘woodscapes’ based on a local resource.

In displaying distinct flashes of autumnal colour, this particular late January-early February-produced painting provides tangible evidence of the number of sources that go into each of the paintings’ process of making – ‘shot-establishing’ photographs of likely compositions taken whilst out walking in the woods, quick colour-noted sketches and more empirical research carried out whilst work is in progress.  The silver birches that are dotted around the area, amidst the commercially-planted pines, make an appearance in this composition (in three distinct forms), asserting a degree of difference, and it is they, indeed, that provide the colour-turning foliage to contrast with the evergreen.

‘Woodscape #4 (Silver Birch)’

oil on canvas/24″ x 48″/January – February 2017

Again, facture is the priority once the composition is established, intended to return the spectator to the physical surface of the picture plane, to the fact of paint as brush-stroked paint, and move across it laterally, as the spatial representation attempts to tempt one within the represented depths of the environment, so that some form of active, participatory resistance takes place.





Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Clear Off!

And so January came to a close as murky as most of the month had been, with yesterday morning’s lightless grey skies alas occluding and precluding any hope of painting during the only available hour of the Monday-to-Friday (how precious and necessary it is to be able to be, practically, an artist before submitting to the day job).

However, in spite of such unpropitious circumstances, some progress on the work-in did occur over the weekend, with the results (re)presented below.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Once More into the Woods...

Posting today an image of the sum total of last weekend’s painting activity, compromised and curtailed somewhat by the murky greyness of the available ‘daylight’ coupled with feeling a tad under the weather, by no means the most promising combination of circumstances in which to make a great deal of progress, but brush did meet paint met canvas and active contemplation did take place so at least #4 of the ‘woodscapes’ is under way.
Hoping for more productivity this weekend...

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Deep(er) in the Woods in More Detail...

With the very minor addition of three or four brushstrokes, presenting the updated ‘finished’ version of the third ‘woodscape’ painting, including a selection of detailed views that more closely exhibit the surface facture of the object.

‘Woodscape #3’  oil on canvas/48″ x 24″/January 2016

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Deep(er) in the Woods

Following yesterday’s post, detailing the small revisions made to the first two ‘woodscape’ paintings, today we present the fruit of what has been the main thrust of creative activity over and since the Yuletide period in the form of a third such painting taking as its visual source a scene from deep within the predominantly pine-wooded environment beyond the rear perimeter of TOoT Towers (working in the conservatory at the back of the property is, obviously, the perfect location for all those instances of necessary empirical visual research that are an essential component of the painting process).

‘Woodscape #3’
oil on canvas/48″ x 24″/December 2016 – January 2017

‘Resolved’ (whether suitably/satisfactorily enough only time spent looking and considering will reveal), the painting continues in the manner of that pair preceding it and reveals explicitly its facture, the overt structure of horizontal and vertical brushstrokes, and the materiality of the paint and its mostly wet-into-wet application in the service of both the painting-as-object (transitional object) and the represented embodied experience of being present within the woods, treading upon the carpet of pine needles and moss and being confronted by the sheer verticality of the tree trunks and evidence of their foliage between and beyond. What one finds is that communicating this experience in paint becomes more and more complex and difficult each time one returns to the easel to represent the subject matter, more hermetic for want of a better word (and Cubism and C├ęzanne are never very far away, either) as, perhaps, this painting appears.

Outside of the world of the painting, but a valuable part of the process of its making, I must make mention of a couple of the elements of the accompanying musical soundtrack – Tom Waits‘Mule Variations’, which sounded particular wonderful this last Sunday afternoon, and the long-overdue discovery of Can, oft-cited as an influence upon a number of artists whose work has proved to be an enduring favourite (not least early Public Image Ltd) but, especially absurdly it seems in the event, who had remained unexplored until recently, intriguing stuff and suitable grist to the painting mill.

Monday, January 09, 2017

New Year Evolutions...

Both the pair of recent woodscape paintings have recently undergone a little re-working after having been lived-with and critically considered, making what were the brightest green vertical strips a little less so whilst still functioning as the visual passage ‘through’ the constructed ‘tactile’ surface space…

‘Woodscape #1’ oil on canvas/48″ x 24″/2016

‘Woodscape #2’ oil on canvas/48″ x 24″/2016

A third in the sequence is current in progress, possibly nearing resolution or possibly not…

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Blank Decorations...

Awaiting a delivery of some more of the ‘widescreen’ canvases that have proved themselves to be the most appropriate for the current sequence of painterly investigations of yonder woodland (a mere pair having been purchased in the first instance, for the purposes of testing the proposal, and alternatives being unfit for such purpose), it seemed a good idea to fill some of the hiatus by remodelling another batch of pears and then whitewashing them in readiness for the intended further investigation and possible expansion of that particular body of work as was carried out earlier in the year. Here, captured looking in to the conservatory/studio from outside, are the five objects suspended and drip-drying.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Woods Painting #2

‘Woods #2’

oil on canvas/24″ x 48″/December 2016

The current painting brought to some form of resolution (one could keep adding paint indefinitely), as with the previous example concentrating in painterly terms on the horizontals and verticals of the subject matter and achieving an all-over-ness of surface texture.  Again, this ‘tactile space’ acts as a means to suggest the physical experience of being present in the landscape, the richness of the empirical fact(s).



Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Back at the Easel...

Presenting today the early stages of the current work-in-progress, another 4′ x 2′ ‘widescreen’ canvas upon which has been sketched the early stages of a second woodscape composition closely related to its predecessor and of which there is as yet not a great deal else to say.

The work was carried out over the course of Saturday afternoon, this activity to the accompaniment of a selection of the new release from the Moon Wiring Club, celebrating in generously expansive style the 10th anniversary of & comprising, musically, an LP (entitled ‘Exit Pantomime Control’) and triple CD set (‘When a New Trick Comes Out, I Do an Old One’), some of the artwork of which is pictured below (there’s also an A2-sized double-sided poster folded within the CD package, detailing its contents and featuring more of the inimitable illustrations of the sort on show), and a book too (also ‘When a New Trick…’) – a veritable cornucopia of sound and visuals as, indeed, each of the issues from the Blank Workshop and fictional town of Clinkskell are, what have come to be a much-anticipated annual treat after the clocks have gone back and the seasonal gloaming descends and envelops.

As ever, the music is both familiar and strange (more so than usual this time, with remixes and re-imaginings from the substantial archives), accents recur but are subjected to tweaks and new treatments, ghosts rematerialising in fresh guises, moods benign, contemplative and unsettling shift within the continuum – it’s rich fare upon initial encounter that frequent revisiting will reward as we move inexorably from this year into next.

Now – given the seasonal crimp on available painting opportunity (fundamentally, an insistence upon natural light conditions) – when’s the next chance to paint and listen?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The paint is tree and the tree is paint

Following-on from the recent ‘in progress’ report (‘Digesting October…’), today we present the first painting of our local woodland subsequently brought to some form of resolution over the course of Saturday afternoon spent listening to the 2 CDs of ‘The Essential Leonard Cohen’, but a selection in celebration of the work of the songwriter supreme ‘born with the gift of the golden voice’ (at least in the guise of the narrator of the mighty ‘Tower of Song’), whose passing has sadly been announced – many fine words have been written in tribute, not least on the Guardian website on & from Friday, also including Gerry’s on his ‘That’s How The Light Gets In’ blog, another to follow avidly. The recordings left behind, of such exquisitely-crafted & masterfully-performed songs, will resonate down the years, of that there can be no doubt.

‘Woods #1’
oil on canvas/24″ x 48″/October-November 2016
The painting itself, as ‘finished’, probably achieves something of what was intended whilst leaving plenty of scope for development. Formally and, from that, technically it observes the obvious horizontals and verticals of the subject matter and represents a ‘tactile space’, independently as a painting and as analogous to the physical experience of being actively present in the landscape (treading upon the pine needle-covered and mossy ground whilst the tall straight columns of the trees confront as one navigates a path through and tower overhead), treating figure and ground with equal gestural weight in the pursuit of a more integrally ‘overall’ painterly surface where, striving to achieve that balance between facture and image, the means of representation and that represented, ‘the paint is tree and the tree is paint’ to paraphrase either Ivon Hitchens himself or otherwise something that was written about his work (precise memory fails). It must be admitted that, once exposed to (the potential of the influence of), one sees the scene(s) through Hitchens’ compositions, those spatial sequences and intervals across a wider panoramic or ‘cinematic’ format, and this of course inevitably lends itself to a particular aspect of the appearance of the painting, characterised as it is in part by more elongated swiping brushstrokes.