Painting on the old railway track near the boardwalk today. It started off as a dark grey cloudy afternoon, but the clouds gave way to light puffs of clouds and blue skies for sunset. I set up with the canvas facing the pathway, to my right and left you could look down the path.
I had two people come up to me and say they used to paint today. A few people that looked at the painting and didn’t say much else, and one dude who was asking about my painting method, in which I replied in a round-about way, I wasn’t expecting a question like that! Talking to passers by is a good way to practice explaining my painting practice to people.
This is the furthest I have painted from my house, I got dropped off on the way there, and walked back (with help 🙂 )
I didn’t have much interest in the sky today. In fact I didn’t paint the sky in at all. I only painted what interested me. This is an interesting concept, because I am no longer painting all the elements that make a landscape – I literally didn’t paint the sky – no blue or white (apart from a few dabs). This feels more interesting than painting elements of the landscape just because that’s what makes a landscape painting.
I painted the movement of the leaves and branches, in a colour and shapes that I thought suited what I could see, hear and feel.
I used thinner brushes than I have previously? Perhaps? I made delicate marks, softer, it felt different.
I really thinned the paint for the first layers on the canvas. The colours dripped and bled into each other. As I was painting, I was reminded of this artist, who I follow on instagram and can’t remember the name of, goddammit! *Find*. The subtleties of marks, the softness of brushstrokes, due to how thick or thin the paint was applied. That – how the paint is applied – is interesting. I feel as if working in fields of relativity on the picture plane is exciting. For example: massive vs. thin brushstrokes, controlled vs. uninhibited brushstrokes, gestural vs. controlled (same as before?..), thick paint vs. thin dry brush, wet brushstrokes vs. dry brushstrokes, bright vs. dull, blended vs. unblended brushstrokes… I could go on. I haven’t played with the texture of the paint before ie. thick/thin, wet/dry much. Unintentionally, today’s painting plays with that I think. And so does yesterdays. The dryer brushstrokes remind me of the types of marks Bonnard sometimes made. They seem delicate, fragile… My older works are bolder, more brazen, less vulnerable. That’s important: less vulnerable.
It’s crazy how the thickness and runnyness of paint on the canvas can affect how vulnerable a mark therefore painting / patch of a painting is!
It’s interesting what this process is doing to my visual language; to the way I approach painting; when I know when to stop, and when to start, and what to do all in-between.
A note I wrote on the way home after finishing the painting:
Me painting, everyday, is:
Accessing a part of the brain that has no language. A visual vocabulary for describing emotional experience. Working with a set of colours and shapes in the same way a writer writes with letters and punctuation. A language, a tool box, for unpacking, laying down an experience that resides in the non-language part of the brain.
^ This is more like the answer I would have given to that guy who asked about the painting process I was using, if I had had all this time to reflect!
What’s interesting, unlike writing (no offence all writers ahem), is that with painting, my vocabulary of marks (and the colours I mix) are endless. They evolving. They shift and change and become less decided or more refined, as I work. Or as I don’t work. My mood, me in time, all affects my visual vocabulary when working on that painting. Even as I am painting, my visual vocabulary changes. It shifts, I become more confident, more in the zone, perhaps more tired, or more excited, it could change in any way actually, not to be predicted or foreseen!
I must read more about this visual vocabulary.