On June 2nd I wrote about starting work on the honeysuckle images. Now, over 2 months later and physiotherapy completed, I am able to get into the swing of playing with colour and imagery. The gap out of the studio has made it difficult to get the work flowing, but the last four days have seen me gaining momentum as I explored both colour and line.
The work here shows the slow evolution and testing of the ideas. Initially the very large photographic montage was going to be the genesis of the painting but the drawing proved more difficult so I started playing with more of the photographic images. As I did so I realised that the colour I thought was there was not what I was actually seeing. The drawing and the colour exercises have both firmed up the ideas of what will happen on the canvas, and clarified my understanding of the colour of these complicated florets.
The imagery is starting to be transferred onto the canvas, and for the image I have returned to the first one I made the large photo collages from. This is in part because I want the dark colour of the shadows cast on the back of the bench at the bottom of the canvas to give it weight, ‘bottom’ as some would say, referring to gravitas. I want darker weighty colour at the bottom holding the square firmly static, containing movement and spatial change within the frame. I like the colour as illusion of space and depth with the brushstroke giving direction and emotion to it.
I tried a couple of different images but the complexity and colour of the flowers made it difficult to find the balance within the image that I was looking for. The original choice had the arc across the base to balance the picture. I want that arc of the seat back across the base of the square, a defining band holding the honeysuckle in place on the canvas as the trellis does on the garden wall. Its overlap of the plant also gives a spatial reading in a mass/mess of leaves. The colour of the honeysuckle and its leaves flirt with complimentary pairings – greens and reds, turquoise and pinks, highlight of yellow and white.
In parallel I am also going to work up a square canvas similar to the large square drawing I had in my last exhibition. It will be oils, whether paint or pastels, perhaps oil bars I haven’t yet decided whilst the main painting will be acrylics, sticking with the technique that allows me to play with the colour to create spatial ambiguities across the surface of the canvas. The smaller canvas is three feet square, the larger 4 foot six inches. The larger canvas gives me a nine inch modular overlaying the image, the smaller a much large square format to play with the nature of the mark as well as the colour.
Working on two canvases at once will be unusual for me. I remember being shocked when I worked for John Hoyland as a studio assistant at seeing how many canvases he worked on simultaneously – almost like a production line. But with so much going on its must happen here too, as the two threads of colour imagery and colour mark proceed in parallel.
I am having Honeysuckle fun….
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