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

flicker test lines for painting

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 was light relief.
Testing tree trunks made of newspaper reflecting conversations about Brexit and other key events in 2016. However this 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.
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. 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.
lines and pyramids of colour make up this acrylic painting of treesThe shrubs below became pyramids of hawthorn – dark leaves and white flowers. Feedback on the piece was that the hedging pyramids distracted from the stripes. Dividing the picture into parts lost the movement.
underpainting of Forest Flicker in luminescent and yellow stripes

Starting again

So the painting was sanded and gesso relaid. Then lines were laid of luminescent paint and pale colours. The second painting dropped the idea clearly creating shrubs. The density of the lines and additional part stripes were used to create areas of darker denser vegetation. In different lights the colour patterns shift.

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 which has been sold.

 

Peering through murky windows at the falling darkness

Staring into the darkness through the windows of the train on the way home from Wales. Thoughts racing through my mind of the darkness actual or implied in the exhibition I’d seen at National Museum Cardiff.  Thoughts of  what had to be done when I got home. Distracted by the scratches and dirt on the inside and outside of the windows.
How are those circular marks made? Who made them?  How does that dirty film cling on? The window has it’s stories but does not shed any light on them. Peering into the darkness there were flickers of lights. Dog-walkers with head-torches. Cyclists on paths. Flashes of reflected lights in water from fishermen, tree-lights and the slip of moon.
Colours still identifiable in the dark space beyond. Shapes and patterns flashing by. The fields still visible as the darkest rich deep greens. Trees and shrubs showing darker against them. Texture has been flattened. Other colours reflected from the clothing of the people sitting in or passing through the train carriage.
I’m making lists of things to do. A few smartphone photographs. Jotting down notes to jog my memory when I paint my interpretation of this fading light – the train journey (Taith Tren)  Mae’n daith flinedig.
Listening in to the sing song voices of fellow passengers. Workers on their way home to a meal – home cooked or being collected with them at the station. Friends who’ve been shopping sharing what they’ve bought with everyone. A happy crowd of people heading into the night.

Train journey

This is my journey one night. From Wales to England. Speeding along. Body and Brain. On the train. Murky windows. Darkness engulfing the countryside. All captured with a variety of media including making a dirty train window as described here.

Taith Tren

Acrylic Painting

40 x 40 cm canvas

acrylic painting of a view from a train window at night

Taith Tren £390
Acrylic paint and resin
Canvas 40 x 40 cm

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