The first ‘on canvas’ iteration of the monochrome schematic. The pentimenti creating depth and energy. Unlike the en-plein-air sketches, the studio canvases don’t, as yet have the date and time inscribed. This is something I hope to include in future but I don’t want it to look contrived. This painting was already in motion when I realised it was becoming a Monochrome, so the opportunity for any inscription had passed. Inscriptions, I think, should be applied to the virgin canvas and it may or may not remain visible.
The process of documenting the sea and the sky from life seems so simple and straightforward until I actually try to do it. More often than not, after carting my ‘kit’ to the edge of the cliff before the North Sea, I sit trapped in awe at the majesty of nature and am left impotent by the impossibility of the task. I force myself to work and, astonishingly manage to produce something interesting. Somehow these responses do indeed capture something of the experience of being there.
Continuing the monochrome analysis of the North Sea, here are some acrylic studies made at source, en plein air, in-situ…etc. My preferred format for these studies is 5″ x 7″ – this size allows me to capture fairly quickly the overriding colour of any given moment. You can see rain spots on these paintings – one of the perils of outdoor painting.
As these sketches attest, it’s important to me that I be in nature when I make these chromatic studies. The subtleties of colour variation cannot be experienced through a car windscreen, from beneath an umbrella and certainly not from a photograph. The glaring issue, of course is that the weather can determine which sea and sky effects I’m able to document. The most dramatic colour variations will often be when the weather is at its most hostile, so must be documented from memory alone.
Whenever I meet a fellow painter, particularly a painter whose work I admire, one of the first things on my mind is, “What paints do you use?” Even when faced with an international ‘best seller’ artist, when one is supposed to drag up questions of tremendous insight and gravitas, I really have only one question – what materials does this artist use and why do they find them better than others.
Well, with that in mind… and with the slight whiff of arrogance that someone might actually be interested enough in me and my work to be concerned with such things, here’s a little video depicting the oil paints that I’ve been using recently.
This first post is a slight introduction to where I am as an artist at the moment. I won’t go into detail of how my work has led to this point, you just need to accept that it has. Suffice to say that I have been attempting to represent the world around me, in paint, as simply and as purely as possible yet still convey my experience of nature with intensity.
In an effort to further simplify (there’s nothing so complex and complicated as simplicity) I’m developing a raft of ‘monochrome’ paintings drawn from the dominant tonal and/or chromatic value of the North Sea at Cambois at any given time of day (time determined by my availability to go and look at/work from it!) These cardboard studies are early, liberated musings on the concept.
The ‘codes’ on each piece (that also inspires their titles) is a simple number string denoting time and date when the works were produced. These ‘strings’ will become more meaningful when ascribed to the in-situ paintings that will form faithful attempts at representing the prevailing tone and colour at any given minute or minutes as I witness those variations.