Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wreck No.6

oil on canvas 51x51cm

I seem to remember that this series started with a destroyed tank and a beautiful sky, so this one is a bit ‘Back to Basics’.

The sky is fairly simple - cumulus on blue. The tank, and I’m not sure if this idea works or not, is meant to seem like a landscape. Hmm. Let's just say that I quite like the contrasting shapes and textures between the two subjects.

Technically this piece is a step forward. For starters, I used touches of Magenta throughout, so it has a strange overall colour. As well as that I put some stand oil in some of the glazes and dabbed, not stroked, them on. That solved my problem of how to make the fine tone/colour gradients in the sky and the soft blended ‘cloudiness’ of the nearer clouds. Prior to that I would have made up a lot of oily free-flowing paint and physically worked the colours together on the surface. The dabbing deposits a thin transparent-ish glaze vertically onto the surface with a brush or pad. Repeated semi-transparent layers can intensify colours, and I’m quite pleased with the blueness of the blue (mixes of Payne’s Grey, Ultramarine and Prussian Blues and Zinc White).

The hard metal was great fun to do. Wettish paint, dryish paint, thicker paint, thinner paint, opaque paint and transparent paint – basically I just made it up as I went along with a refreshing lack of theory and planning.

I mentioned the blue earlier. I am no longer at home to Pthalo blue (or its nasty cousin Pthalo Green). It has behaved in a consistently boisterous and unruly manner and no matter how I have tried to calm it down and make it feel settled, I feel that it has let the work down, has let me down, but most of all has let itself down. My new friend Prussian blue doesn’t upset the rest of the palette, mixes genially with yellows to make healthy greens, and doesn’t leave lurid stains all over my brushes…