Friday, August 12, 2016

Back to the Future (?)

‘Roadscape With Can #1’
oil on canvas/12″ x 16″/August 2016
Presenting today a first tentative exploration in oils of what might have the potential to become an evolving body of work, drawing on subject and object matter that’s long held a fascination and has, on occasions and considerable stretches of time over the past, provided substantial grist to the creative mill, with evidence having been photographically documented extensively and many objects collected to subsequently serve as the source material for a large number of drawings, which, along with the photos, populate the archives of TOoT.
Beginning with a wealth of images of what at the time (they’ve since been physically removed, scored-out) were the legendary ‘double black lines’ corrective road markings that were a feature upon numerous of the streets of Flint, North Wales (taken and blogged during February and March of 2006), and then developing into a series of drawings based on the found flattened ‘roadkill’ cans (over the period from March 2009 to September 2010), with also much more photographic evidence of such objects as discovered and observed in situ, these idiosyncratic road surfaces, ‘roadscapes’, and specific items of the discarded matter littered upon them have continued to percolate on the old mental back-burner until this point, when the recent finding and collection of a couple of suitable objects (discovered in close proximity to Wrexham FC‘s Racecourse Ground, thus incorporating a little football link-up to proceedings too) to serve as physical subject matter enabled this most recent oil painting to come into existence. The thickly painted ground is based generally on the appearance of the double black lined tarmac-surfaced roads, with flashes of the originally painted yellow lines beneath the corrective over-painting showing through in places, the can from observed reality, the whole being but a small study into the possibility of pursuing such a line of aesthetic enquiry.

Monday, August 08, 2016

And Again...


‘White Pears With Barry Stedman Vessel #4’
oil on canvas/16″ x 20″/August 2016
Continuing with the painterly exploration of the increasingly-familiar Barry Stedman vessel juxtaposed with a selection of the even more familiar whitewashed (re)model(led) pears, with, on this occasion, the vessel being observed with the plane first featured in version 1 of the sequence to the fore, its glazes of colour showing slight variations to those on the reverse, and also a variation in the configuration of pears to the right, with one immediately behind the pair to the front of the shallow recessive space, crowding them together in vaguely Morandi-esque fashion. As with the previous example, the underpainting was a thin sap green wash, the pale grey over it allowing a certain amount of tint and, hopefully, luminosity to glow through.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Finished Product


‘White Pears With Barry Stedman Vessel #3’
oil on canvas/16″ x 20″/July 2016
The ‘Next..’ painting completed, again featuring a selection of the whitewashed remodelled model pears juxtaposed with our Barry Stedman vessel as subject/object matter with, as intended, a certain amount of the green underpainting preserved beneath the overlaid white on the upper level and thus slightly more  luminosity apparent, even if almost imperceptibly perhaps…

Thursday, July 21, 2016


A new painting in progress, continuing the inclusion of the Barry Stedman vessel into the composition, in relation to the familiar whitewashed pears, with its splashes of colour amongst the predominant whites and greys. This occasion and example sees a return to the single canvas, given the uncertainty over the recent pair of diptych format paintings, and the portrait orientation featuring the upper and lower shelf formal device upon which the various depicted objects sit. In a departure from the habitual, this time the underpainting is not a sienna wash but rather a pale green that relates to the cast of the natural light present in the conservatory studio, tinted thus by virtue of the proximity of the garden and dense woods beyond: the particular challenge now is retain some this green underpainting and its luminosity as the painting progresses…

Monday, July 18, 2016

On Returning...


‘White Pears With Barry Stedman Vessel #2’
oil on canvas/12″ x 16″ and 20″ x 16″ (diptych)/July 2016
After the tardiest spell of recent times – with areas of productivity having relocated to the site of the garden and the act of looking largely having transferred to the televised coverage of the European football Championships (particularly enjoying Wales’s amazing progress through the tournament, as well as that of Iceland and Hungary) for the duration – a more concerted return to studio practice over the last week or so has resulted in the processing of a second diptych depicting our object-of-desire Barry Stedman vessel in the company of the familiar whitewashed pears. On this occasion, the reverse plain of the vessel is featured to that previously, similar to its opposite in design but exhibiting certain particularities. Again, doubts exist and persist as to whether the diptych format is entirely successful – it does obviously have a different object-quality to a single canvas, which creates slightly more of a dialogue with the subject-matter, but the composition would probably be better served being viewed within a single frame.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Pears and a Vessel

‘White Pears with Barry Stedman Vessel’
oil and graphite on canvas/(diptych) 12″ x 16″ and 20″ x 16″/May 2016
At last a new painting, this one a diptych, featuring a selection of the familiar white pears composed and observed in relation to one of the precious objects of the household, aBarry Stedman ‘slab vessel’ acquired after being seen and fallen in love with during an exhibition at the Ruthin Craft Centre last year, the thing itself pictured below (actually displaying the reverse plane of similar design).

Barry Stedman ‘slab vessel’

Obviously, the representation of the vessel and the drawn/painted image upon its planar surface is a painterly response to the thing seen rather than a direct transcription whilst attempting to be faithful to the design.
Being preceded by the recent series of paintings that featured the compositional device of ‘blurring’ some objects-as-observed behind a translucent screen of tracing paper inspired by examples of Edmund de Waal‘s installations of his work, this development might be regarded as continuing something of a visual dialogue with contemporary ceramicists.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

White Pears #27

'White Pears #27'
oil on canvas/16″ x 20″/April 2016
Continuing with the Edmund de Waal-inspired compositional device of placing some of the observed objects behind a translucent ‘screen’ (of tracing paper), this latest painting displays a distinct split between upper and lower levels, those on the upper horizontal plane unscreened and those on the lower behind and appearing out of focus, but no less keenly seen. In the representation of both, and over the entire picture plane, of course, paint as manipulated material stuff is emphasised as such as much as it assumes ‘object-form’ in the description of the whitewashed, re-modelled, hand-finished pears and the horizontal and vertical surfaces of the grounds upon and against/behind which they sit and appear.
This one might have failed more than some of the others in the series to date…




Sunday, April 17, 2016

White Pears #26 (Going Further to de Waal)

'White Pears #26'
oil on canvas/16″ x 20″/April 2016
Here’s the latest painting off the easel, ploughing the familiar furrow and exploring that same Edmund de Waal-influenced compositional device of most recent development of placing some of the objects before and others behind a translucent screen (of  tracing paper), on this occasion weighting things three-two towards the latter. A little more than has been the case recently, the brushwork on both the ground and the ‘unfocussed’ pears is thicker/sketchier, more expressive of the materiality of the medium (paint as paint), more closely approaching the manner of the representation of those objects in front of the paper screen, those hand-finished remodelled pears that are observed and experienced as being palpably so.




Sunday, April 10, 2016

White Pears #25

'White Pears #25'
oil on canvas/16″ x 20″/April 2016
One of the more ‘harder-won’ images of recent production, this latest painting involved a fair degree of putting on and scraping back off before it came to this point of resolution – but, of course, it is all about the struggle, as I was sagely advised at university.
As introduced in the previous example, the image content of this painting also utilises and further explores the compositional device of placing two of the observed objects behind a screen of translucent paper in order that they appear blurred whilst those placed before the screen are seen in clear focus, visibly present rather than in something of a fugitive state, in the manner of the arrangements of objects in Edmund de Waal‘s installation ‘A Thousand Years’ for example. It is very interesting to hear de Waal speak of such matters during the course of his being featured on the compelling BBC TV series ‘What Do Artists Do All Day?’, of looking at objects for such a long time and/or with such intensity that they come to appear, or reappear to memory, blurred, out of focus, and of how much more powerful they can seem as a consequence, that not being able to get one’s hands or eyes on the object does not necessarily lessen their presence or impact. Given the amount of time this small group of objects, the whitewashed pears, has been composed in various configurations, and observed, actively, with great concentration, to be represented in paint, it perhaps seems appropriate that at least some of them should have reached a state of shifting out of focus…




Wednesday, April 06, 2016

More Pears in Progress…


The next painting, in progress, again the whitewashed remodelled model pears as subject-object matter and continuing with the Edmund de Waal-inspired compositional device of taking some of the objects out of focus, utilising a tracing paper ‘screen’ behind which to place two of the pears, on this occasion reverting to the portrait-format canvas, placing one of the models on the upper horizontal plane.