Time for a little about how I’m working. I am fortunate to have a dedicated studio, not large but a bit bigger than the space I had as a student at Cosham in the 1960’s and large enough for a layout that has allowed me to develop a working discipline. I have the usual accoutrements – a plan chest with drawers big enough for A0 size, so 2 A1 sheets side by side. Two tables, one a table rescued from being burned in a skip at Blackburn tech when they decided to get rid of the foundation studio tables, one a typical folding decorator table. These are arranged in a ‘T’ shape that keeps clean and paint areas apart.
Paints are acrylics, supplemented by oil pastels, oil bars and some tube oil paints. My chosen medium is acrylic, and I am using predominantly Golden Colour plus some of the older Rowney Cryla before they gave up on the professional artist market and stopped the quality stuff. Some of the Cryla is in large pots left over from the creation of the Morley mural in the 1990’s, so it lasts a long time if kept properly.
My palettes are old dinner plates, and by inverting one on top of another I can keep paint workable for over a week. I keep five water bowls for cleaning brushes and as there is no sink in the studio, I have a couple of buckets, one for clean water, the other for dirty. It works, and the studio heating is Ok after the first hour even when temperatures are below zero. Lighting is LED ( see my piece about their installation).
There is the usual clutter of tools, sketchbooks, scalpels, and pencils. I work a great deal with sheets of paper primed, stapled to the walls. There are 3 different easels for canvases or working outside I use the Lawrence art shop in Hove for much of my supplies as I like to browse but buy on the web from the likes of Russell and Chapple as well. I have a separate small room indoors I use for processing my photography and keep a large scale (A2) printer there together with inks and paper – kept separate to avoid accidents. I print onto a Bockingford so that I can work into the photos with pencils and paint if I choose to.
If you are thinking that is a lot of kit – well I have been professionally involved in art or design since I was 19, and this week I will celebrate my 74th birthday. It has all just kind of accumulated. Latest and what I am having most fun with now is a range of plastic scraper type implements. These are allowing me to build up textures which I can work onto when dry and which by scraping can also be used over underpaintings to allow colours to mix visually whilst not necessarily mixing physically. The drawback is the quantity of paint they demand… I occasionally work over the ridges lightly with oil pastel to modulate or inflect the colour, but basically, I am just splodging the colour.
I have written about my visual sources extensively, and I use a camera, usually having one with me most of the time. The large-scale printer allows me to enlarge images enormously especially as the cameras take 55-megapixel originals giving a theoretical ability to enlarge to billboard scale – or so the manufacturer boasts…
Here you can see details of the latest paintings featured in previous blogs, showing the technique. I use brushes too, frequently underpainting with brush before working over with the scrapers and then working over again with oil pastel. Love what I am doing ( to paint is to love again) and love the colour interrelationship that are created by the layering. I admire other painters who are into paint, like Tom Phillips, and those who extend how we look and use our eyes. I hope I make people look afresh at the world around them, use their eyes more to see the beauty we live with daily in often unexpected places.
I hope you enjoy.