Journeying from expressionism into abstraction. Can you see the wood for the trees?  | Kathryn Sassall Artist

Journeying from expressionism into abstraction. Can you see the wood for the trees? 

Experimenting with abstraction was part of the task I set myself in the first two months of 2017. I wanted to release the need to observe so closely to capture detail. Experimenting to capture the essence or emotion of a moment through marks and colour.
Tree trunks made of newspaper that reflected the conversations that had been had around Brexit and other key events n 2016 looked too flat and still. The addition of paint before and after the paper collage, began to add some life and depth, but no movement.

flicker test lines for painting

Some of the colour combinations were interesting. Complementary colours giving the test piece a bit of vibrancy. I saw a painting in Abergavenny at this time where luminescent paint had been laid at an angle across the painting which appeared to create movement in the changing light. I mixed some with different colours to see the effects as well as just laying some across the already painted acrylic lines.

A small test of lines in a limited colour palette which also had bowed lines to bring in movement seemed to create an effect. However this was not translatable to a piece twenty times bigger. Sometimes scale makes it. I concentrated on a simple palette of colours (tonal yellows, purple, brown, blue and pink) and the direction of lines for the trees.

The shrubs below became pyramids of hawthorn – dark leaves and white flowers. Feedback on the piece was not getting the idea of flickering forest.
So the painting was sanded and gesso relaid. The second painting dropped the idea of the shrubs and the darkness.
It concentrated on the light in the trees. Some arcs where added to the straight lines Luminsecent paint was laid in some of the areas at the top of the painting. The flicker was still missing.Finally I laid over more dark trees. I then used acrylic paint pens to create the forest.
Different thicknesses and lengths of the darkest colour have helped create the effect that I wanted. The finished acrylic painting has been sprayed with satin varnish. Staring into the top right (the area I’d normally see first travelling) and then moving your eye level across and down to the bottom left corner creates the flicker I was looking for.
See previous blog for more about this painting and the completed work.

 

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