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Impatience is a real problem for me. I ordered the stretcher pieces and a roll of canvas ready for the next painting before I had finished the drawings. The canvas is fine, but I think I may have ordered a stretcher that is going to be too small….


The drawings progress though, and working in part from drawings made in the garden in the hot months of May/June and in part from photographs, the ideas are getting sorted. I am exploring the colour contrasts and transitions I can make across an image, breaking it down so that colour and the canvas space are at odds with the image itself and trying to make a more thorough job than I did on the last painting. It doesn’t pay to cut the mythmaking short, neither for the colour transitions nor for the line drawings.

Looking at the grass, light and shade

Looking at the grass, light and shade

In the California Poppy painting there were a couple of basic mistakes. I did not explore the drawing enough relying on mark making on the canvas, which proved not to work terribly well, and I think I also got the scale of the canvas wrong. This meant the square I used was too small and it made the mark making too tight, not allowing the colour to flow freely.


Looking at the series of drawings I am making using oil pastel I think the scale of the mark in relation to the area of canvas it is covering is too tight in the paintings. I need to use a larger square to allow the brushstroke to sing more. The pastel drawings are over a yard square (about 950 if you are metric) and this leaves room for the mark to ‘breath’. The small square I did on the last canvas I think compressed this and throttles the mark.

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Unfortunately I have ordered a stretcher on the basis of the earlier square size, but I think I can extend the drawing to make it work with a larger drawing , so a little more mythmaking yet I think. This is the sixth of these large oil drawings I have done, and I am really happy with them. I need to pull some of the qualities into the paintings.

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36 inches square, oil pastel on paper

I want to retain the autographic quality of the mark, and to play with the relationship between colour and edge, using colour to create space but fragmented and without the visual clues that come from a drawn edge. Colour is space but an image can also define space without colour and I like to conflict between the two. It plays with the language of art, plays with the concepts of paintings as 2d illusions of the 3d world.

In the flower paintings from the earlier years I achieved this but I am groping to take things a step further. As Madness sang ‘One step beyond….’