Stages of Painting


I don't often photograph work in progress, but if I do, it's out of curiosity to see how a painting evolves. However, as I'm working on the fly, by pausing and photographing it I'm also terrified of becoming conscious of the moment and jinxing it.

Until the more recent abstract paintings, I used to draw directly onto the canvas (or hessian). Interestingly, I tend to think of myself as a prolific drawer (I'm not). I think I'm confusing observing with drawing but in the same way some people can bend their thumbs back or curl their tongue, I know I can draw. I use a blue/grey gesso (canvas primer) instead of traditional white - so there's nothing crisp and perfect to begin a work on - having an imperfect canvas is easier to approach than a glaringly perfect white one.

With the abstract paintings, there's no pre-drawing process of any kind, it's very much 'point and shoot' with liquid paint, bits of card and a stick - any drawing line that exists is done at the same time as the painting - done as a form of distraction to be honest. Some paintings feel confident right from the start. I'll never know what that's about, I'm too busy just getting on with it. Others - and I stress there can be many, can be slow and feel tedious. They want to sit and talk and argue and all I want to do is paint them. I can only speak for myself when I say all work deserves patience - but this can be in really short supply when something that showed promise turns into a seemingly hopeless mess.

I'm often asked how do you know when a painting is finished? I don't. It's a learned, well worn path of trial and error. At some point, we've danced enough, or simply run out of things to say. And that's it. Untitled October 2017 is leaning against the wall in my studio as I write and since I've stopped working on her, she's begun to settle and mellow in ways I cannot articulate. It's a good feeling. Click the slideshow to view various stages of painting and commentary.


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