How I paint
Old painting - Stormy Day, Small sketch 6 inches square, oil on paper, Vivien Blackburn
I read this quote by Nina Murdoch
Basically I put stuff down to work against – Put on a mark and then cut back – What takes the time is finding those patterns, making space work, where the light comes out – not just ‘ooh colour!’
....... the play of colours and light – the sense of something real and concrete but at the same time constantly melting and reforming,
and it so accurately describes the way I like to work.
Even in the recent, more illustrational, observational sketches of apples and the skull - there are tentative marks put down, areas of colour or tone, constantly adjusted, wiped out, drawn over, changed, until I've pushed it to where I want it to go :>) .
In oils I mix colours on the painting often in putting down one colour into another wet colour, scratch through to earlier layers, scrape paint off, flick paint, drip paint, use painting knife or edges of card to 'print' shapes - then modify, adjust, keep changing ....
This little sketch was done in the teeth of a gale, blowing off the sea, The only thing I could hold still enough was this tiny 6 inch square sketchbook. The colours are scratched through, overlaid and generally pushed around in exactly the way Nina describes. There is even a little scumbled coloured pencil in there put down the next day when it was dry (done in quick drying Griffin Alkyd oils).
I have a general idea of how the finished work will look but as important it is the 'feel' of the day - catching that wind and wildness - or calm stillness/whatever. The marks help to get this. I never start out with a crystal clear end image in mind - the journey is important and because of the layers etc, it isn't possible to envisage every outcome clearly and the image evolves as it progresses.
How about you?