04 February, 2018

Creating history

This is a little technical , kinda, sorta post.

My favourite paintings are ones that have history on them. Not Ye Olde History, or images of battle scenes , biblical etc because I am a historical philistine.
I mean layers and layers of physical history: Paint, wax and tooth.

(although, I have to interject here with a story:  as a child, my friend's parents had a historical oil painting on the wall that was described as " The charge of the Light Brigade" and it was fascinating, gruesome and my first point of call in my education about the wars in the Crimea. It held a place in my nightmares for many years)

Right. Back to history.

I have painted alla prima( wet on wet, all at one, immediate painting.Google it) for years . Mostly, I believe, because I am impatient. My studio process has changed and had to develop as I have wanted more and more from the work. I work slower, in layers, utilising many different tools and techniques( some traditional and some not. I have been banned from "helping myself" to any more of the tools from Charles's toolbox . It seems they are returned in less than ideal state if they are returned at all. I hear you and I apologise. )
I work on multiple painting at the same time, allowing what I learn or discover in one painting to be transferred to the next etc and it keeps all the work interesting. Also, oils take time to dry and did I mention I am impatient?!! Those layers of paint and wax and struggle etc etc all make for a base that is SO interesting to work on, colours sing through unexpectedly and lumps and bumps add to the form and generally, it just all seems to be better with history.

Plein air feeds that need for immediacy and my impatience with waiting for paint to dry( cue eyeroll) and I am grateful for that  extension of my practise, but even now I find I am extending that by working glazes into the plein air pieces when they dry to "further" the work. I tell you, I am still impatient but I am learning that getting better means I also have to go slower. I am a fast slow painter. Yeh, quote me on that one.

So, THIS painting has been in the studio for a YEAR. Yeah, I know, I should charge it rent.
Anyways, I did not like the original iteration. It was tame, it was so tame you could pat it and rub it's tummy  BUT some people loved it and said nice things about it ( which is the kiss of death for me if I am at all ambivalent about a work) so, I went at it again. And I went at it hard and I tell you, I like this one. It has a something.

So, for now, it lurks against the walls as I go gesso more boards and think about history and slowing down and my impatience and the all my other faults. But I am happy with this. For today. Building on history.

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