Last Friday night my wife and I flew back home for a week. We didn’t make it here over the Christmas and New Year period so we are now catching up with family and friends.
The week leading up to my departure was a good one with regards to studio work. I didn’t have as much time as I would have like but to although I did work on three paintings.
With our coming exhibition looming I am particularly keen to make my paintings in keeping with the Landscape theme of our collaborative work while allowing my experimentation to extend. I am well aware that galleries and collectors sometimes like work to belong to a recognisable style but I don’t know if I can promise that while I’m working the way I am lately. I have to do this and that’s really all I can say about it.
The palette I’m using is my usual dependable colour selection for my cold wax work and the paint is leading me rather than the other way round, I find that very attractive although I keep it so that it retains the landscape feel. I’m letting go of the idea that a recognisable place should emerge in the work and that takes a little getting used to. Below is a cold wax painting on a small cradled panel which effects the cold winter colours of Southwest Norway. There’s a coastal feel to it with a sea green hint and some seaweed indicated with the beautiful colour caput mortuum. The thick impasto layers reveal the ultramarine and burnt sienna primary layer and highlights of gold oil paint peek through in subtle places throughout this work.
In this second painting to feature in this post the winter feel is again translated through the caput mortuum colour, the underpainting mix of acrylic burnt sienna and ultramarine emerge as does the metallic gold range of highlights. This is such a pleasing effect and I have plans to develop this further with other techniques over the coming weeks.
This painting is on a slightly larger cradled panel with acrylic underpainting. I have now used up my last painting surface for this type of medium so will need to replace them very soon.
My palette remains consistent with my other works although the central passage is a very undisturbed and vibrant Jaune brilliant. It is a great fit with the violets, blues and greens of the sky and connects the eye with the foreground.
See CWM 4 – A Norwegian Landscape in The Sale Room.
View CWM 3 – A Norwegian Landscape in The Sale Room.
My previous experimental work with thinned oil paint on a plain white surface left me hungry to continue and expand. Priekestolen or Pulpit Rock in Lysefjord has a very strong appeal for me, I’ve made Lino prints of it last year and they were very popular because there is something majestic about this particular part of Lysefjord and I see it as the crown jewel of the region.
In this painting I worked on another linen surface (from a supplier down in Denmark) and it is a size large enough for me to say something on – 80 x 100 cm. The canvas is fixed vertically on the easel and the thinned paint takes command as it collides with gravity and runs down the canvas. It’s so interesting to see oil paint behave this way, it doesn’t quite work like watercolour although the granulation where pigment fits into the dips in the weave is still there. Occasionally I tilt the whole easel, sometimes laying it flat or sideways to move paint in specific ways. I borrowed a hairdryer and moved paint around that way too, the effect has an air of unpredictability and the paint has to be trusted.
Ultimately a lot depends on my palette and here I have adapted my colours, I’m using transparent paint, indigo, alizarin crimson, ultramarine, raw sienna, viridian and neutral tint. At some point I will allow more opacity into this kind of work with lots of medium.
Additional layers are added to the painting after it has rested and dried overnight, this avoids mud and gives me a chance to clear my mind. I feel I’m on to something, I am definitely painting for myself with all of these works and there is no way I can avoid the route I’m taking. I have a few more big linen canvasses tucked away and have ideas for all of them.
View Priekestolen: Lysefjord 6 in The Sale Room.