A new painting

So there I was, on the beach, I had my car packed full of painting things, I had hours until it got dark, I was all prepared to paint.

But the sky was grey, and that voice came into my head don’t waste a whole big new canvas on this! This is something I’d heard people talk about all the time: not wanting to waste a new canvas, or use materials up. And this something I’d not struggled with until I graduated. You know I nearly packed up my things and drove off, having just done this mini sketch:

An oil pastel sketch of a big painting idea.

But after sitting on a bench for a long while and contemplating, I acted on what my creative self was telling me which was: go paint that painting!

This was the set up. I don’t yet have a transportable easel, and I’m used to leaning the painting on a tree! I ended up turning the canvas landscape before I started to paint.

I hadn’t even primed the canvas with a background colour – something I haven’t done since I was about sixteen I suspect!

This is the finished painting.
Oil on hand stretched canvas, 1.5 x 1m.

Is it really finished? Might I add to it?

It’s finished, I think.

I painted it in 50 minutes. In the afternoon, the light began to go as I was painting it.

What I’ve noticed from painting the sky is how quickly it changes. Marks I put down earlier in the painting session were changed as the sky changed.

I was looking all around me, as I painted it. Towards the end of the 50 minutes I remember consciously looking up at thse sky above me, I realised I hadn’t been doing that much up until that point. That was when I started to see the curve shapes in the sky, and added the highlight in the central top part of the canvas, and brushstrokes that domed around the highlighted area.

My field of view when I was painting. This dome is going to be way way bigger in reality, but just for this sketch, lets say it’s this small.

Looking at the finished painting it’s very calming. Restful. Peaceful, hopeful.

What works

The whitest part at the top centre leads leads your eye up to it. The scene looks a bit heavenly! I am definately still inspired by the painting The Assumption of the Virgin by Botticini. The dome in the sky, yes.

The colour palette. It’s neutral. And yet there is colour in it. It’s just subtle.

The brushstrokes. They are definitely ‘there’. There is the implication of some big gestures having been made by the artist, implied on the canvas.

It’s completely abstract, and yet, like Gerhard Richter was saying in this book I’ve been reading (blog post on that soon), the eye refuses to see just flat colour. Instead the viewer invents scene in the painting that is attached to time and space. That is interesting. If our brains didn’t do that abstract art would mean something totally different (- to be explored?).

What doesn’t work

It’s just so different to anything I’ve made before, and is this bad. Is it bad because it doesn’t have any of the features of my previous (degree) paintings?

Is it bad because it has no reading behind it, because I have hardly been doing any art reading.

Is it bad because I don’t know what I’m doing or why I made it or whether it’s any good.


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