Thursday, 9 May 2013

Ancient Stones

Ever since we went to Carnac in Brittany I have been obsessed with ancient monoliths and Stone Age sites.  I took many photographs at the time and these have been brewing away in my subconscious.  I made a tiny photobook of the trip we made to Quiberon and the surrounding area and occasionally I pull this little treasure out to look at the images. 

Recently we were given a project in my painting class following the popularity of the book 50 Shades of Grey - notably unread by all of us!!!.  I immediately thought of my "stones" as a suitable subject.  Being a colourist it was not possible to keep to the brief of simple shades of grey, but as it was only meant to be a starting point, this was not a problem.

My little book of photos has proved to be an invaluable source of material.  Probably giving me enough inspiration for at least the next six months, or more.  I've produced 3 paintings so far this year from this subject matter and I still have at least another three in mind from further images.

The three images below may not represent the final versions of the paintings but they are at least at an advanced stage of completion.  They are all executed in acrylic paint on canvas ~50cm x 40cm. 

This has been an exciting departure from the completely abstract phase I've been going through recently.  No doubt I'll be returning to this in the future, but I'm still enjoying the figurative abstract interpretation of these ancient monuments, at least for the time being.

Friday, 8 March 2013

The Second Venice Quartet: The journey to abstraction

I used the paintings inspired by Venice (below) to create the next quartet. This was how the first Venice Quartet was actually displayed; the paintings were not in the same order as in the previous blog.   
The image on the top left (above) was used as the source material for the second Venice quartet (below).  A "view finder" was cut in the same proportions as the canvases to be used.  Four areas of the painting   to reproduce and enlarge were selected with this "view finder".  The pallet of colours was the same as that used in the first Venice Quartet.  The areas chosen were stylised a little and simplified and the orientation wasn't necessarily the same. 

These are the resulting paintings which, for me, are even more pleasing than the original quartet.  The painting itself dictated colour shape and orientation, I felt I had allowed the painting to take over and left fussy detail behind.   These too can stand alone or be presented together.  Both Quartets were displayed in my end of year show last year.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Quartet Inspired by Venice

Last year I made a series of paintings inspired by pictures of Venice. We went there some years ago now and I took beautiful photographs and have wanted to make something of them ever since. However, at the time I wasn't painting much and the moment passed. Since completing my Diploma it has given me the confidence to paint and has set me on the path of self discovery.

I started by looking at travel photos in magazines and my own pictures and found images that I wanted to translate into a figurative abstract painting. I decided on a small square format. The painting was inspired by gondolas and arches from the Doge's Palace. I didn't want nor could I paint like Canaletto or Turner, but I wanted to find my own style. I made some preliminary drawings in my sketchbook and used elements of these on the first canvas, seen here.

I started to block in areas of colour loosely in thin paint and, whilst painting, decided to lose the foreground image of the lamp as it was superfluous and cluttering up the foreground space, blocking the visual "way in" to the painting. I also took out the architectural horizontal line from the top of the painting as it "cut off" the visual flow through and the lamp post as the small size of the painting did not lend itself to fussy details.

The completed painting introduced water and more vibrant colours as well as extended curves introducing a dynamic quality and movement to the painting.  I subsequently used this technique in all four of the paintings in this quartet too giving a certain amount of unity. 

I completed three other paintings using the same pallet as in the first keeping the arch theme throughout.  One picture in a magazine had a banner saying Save Venice  "Salviamo Venezia".   Which I transformed to mirror writing in two of the images.  I reintroduced the lamp form, typical to Venice, in one image as I was really taken by it and wanted to use it somehow. 

This set of paintings can be viewed separately or together, either in pairs, triptychs or as the whole quartet.  It also inspired a second quartet of slightly more abstract images that I will introduce in my next blog.