Thursday, May 29, 2008


After losing a painting during the week to a rash act. I got back on the rocking horse and tried the same shop from a different window. What I thought would be a relatively easy one turned out one of the most difficult.
I found the varied subtle mid-tones quite challenging. The photo although tonally quite close doesn't show them as well as the real thing of course.

Incidentally today I picked up a 44 1/2 x 10 yard roll of Arches 300gsm
It'll be interesting to have a go supersizing these.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

King Street Reflections

Must go back to these establishments and find out their actual names. Might be a reasonable way to name the painting as well as provide some incentive later on for marketing the work.
This one is a different palette to any of the others.
The gold and green notes harmonize really well with the red tonic.
This one led me to make a note to paint from dark to light, the opposite to standard watercolour practice. This will allow the dark pigments to gently bleed into the adjacent lights to create softer edges. It worked nicely in areas of this one.
76x56cm Arches 300med, W&N watercolour pigments.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Rag and Bone Girl

This is the eighth out of what may actually turn out to be the twenty I initially quoted to Nicko last year. Some where after about 3 or 4 Nicks skepticism seemed well founded. Now I think my optimism might have been prophetic. Now I've started I can't stop.
Whether or not they work or whether anyone will buy them has become irrelevant, I can honestly say I'm not concerned. I actually love doing them and find the outcome very rewarding. I've always missed the toil that traditional watercolour is bereft of. This method allows a slow piece by piece construction that does not reveal itself until complete. I guess it's not unlike doing a jig-saw puzzle. The silver-point work I do also requires time and patience I think that's why I was doing them along with watercolour, just something to work on for a few days. I need occupation I guess. The "Zen" style of watercolour is very admirable and worthy of regular practice but it does not always serve the need of the painting or idea. I know a seasoned watercolourist who often says; "Failures take all day". Depends on what you're painting I think. The idea is the art not the process or even the outcome. I think the outcome is always an abstraction of the idea. It's like trying to grasp water in your fist.

This piece was much like all the others in process during which there were times when I thought it would find it's way into the bin.
Rag and Bone Girl seemed an apt name at it appears the mannequin is holding a spine. Weird and a little dark I guess but that is the nature of this series for me, I keep finding things I never noticed when I took the photo. The spine is actually a motif on a T-shirt just behind the doll.

The pre-edited photo.

The process is pretty close to this;
Following deciding the crop, I'll get rid of the excessive detail by using the *cutout* filter in PS*. Then fiddle around with the image adjusting colours and values before printing it out. I then project the image using an LCD projector, painstakingly draw the damned thing which might take 2 or more hrs for a full sheet .
The painting process begins by following the print-out. About 3/4 of the way through I dispense with the print-out and let the painting inform itself so to speak.
I will then usually "look" at it in a mat and frame on the wall for a week or more and make chromatic or tonal adjustments before signing it off.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Windows Series

This series focuses on observations of a subject that is deliberately designed to be looked at but rarely does one stop to stare into these window displays and never does one admit to it.
They mostly exist in the peripheral vision of those traversing the commercial canyons of our modern world.
These windows represent a rich picking of arrangements contrived to show off and entice, but when observed in an objective manner reveal much about the motivations of society and act as a mirror both literally and figuratively. On the glass surface we can see ourselves looking back, in the space behind we see the rush of people and cars passing by, other buildings and trappings of the city, moving oblivious to the watching plastic eyes behind the glass.
These stationary sentinels have stories to tell, stories not about what they see yet cannot tell, but about the colours and styles of societies plumage as the seasons pass.
For the artist, the window gives an opportunity to engage with multiple layers of space on the one flat plane. When viewing these paintings initially a puzzle of mixed up shapes meets the eye, however once the reflected space is realized the abstraction begins to make sense.
They are derived from my own photographs of Perth shop windows.