Saturday, 13 August 2011

Recent small works, A Distant Harbour/ Mask in Roses

Something Lies...(just out of view)

It's quite a strange process trying to recreate a small painting whose atmosphere I really like, on a larger scale.
At this point it looks very crude to me, a bad attempt at a copy.
The original developed intuitively whereas this is more a fake, a rehash.
It seems to completely lack the depth of the original too at the moment.
Yet I want it to work, it feels like a worthwhile attempt, as I would be interested to see if
I can make it work on this larger scale, and it's quite a challenge technically.
There are some interesting things going on inside, though, if you look closer...

two details:

I've begun to add glazing layers.  After working for some time something kicked in and the painting suddenly seemed to come alive.  I was finding gorgeous translucent mixes of deep transparent colours, blended on a palette without being too muddied together, so that they really glowed forming chords.

Two images of the original painting; photo with edges cropped and, below, the composite from scans (edited).
The original has a depth and a soft gentle quality that I desperately want to recreate.
It flows together,  undulates and is unified.

There's a strong Leonora Carrington influence at play here... she died quite recently; perhaps this is part of the reason why I want to make a larger version.

Also memories of a visit it the Sitwell's family seat Renishaw Hall, where  John Piper painted resonant works during the 1940s.

I used to have an album on vinyl of Edith Sitwell/William Walton's Facade,
from which my painting's title is borrowed.

The key musical influence here though, is Adams' "Shaker Loops", the slow passages of which were used extensively in the wonderful BBC Omnibus film on Carrington, Leonora Carrington and the House of Fear, which made a great impression on my imagination.  Its effect was so strong, and it has inspired me again and again throughout the years.  Seeing and subsequently recalling this glimpse into Leonora's work and surroundings, learning of her formative experiences really helped me to develop confidence in myself as an artist and to believe that I too would find my way creatively.  Paintings such as Crookhey Hall, The House Opposite, Ferret Race, Samain,  Night, Nursery, Everything and others continue to inspire me.  I recommend her writing, too, it's very sharp, subversive and funny as well as magical.

I love all the fine texture in the image below, largely from darker paint (raw umber etc) on a dry-ish brush
and wipeaway strokes with rags forming multiple fine lines over lighter areas,
giving it a somewhat print-like appearance.  The colour has been subdued somewhat
and the sharpness and contrast increased.