Doing something a bit special
As an artist I sometimes get moments when I know I’m doing something a bit special. Not that I mean that to demote any other painting I’ve done but, like that rare handful of memorable pieces, I know that this one is a triumph. One of those that, for me anyway, marks a turning point on a number of levels.
In one respect it’s to do with the colours. Sure I’ve used some pretty unusual and extreme colours before but not in the way I’ve done in this one. I think the reason why they work so well is their relationship to each other and the blending technique I’ve used to bring them together. There’s nothing out of balance anywhere, nothing dominant, and most importantly there’s nothing that cannot be seen – even down to the dark grape and burgundy accents – you can pick up every little twist and turn and every delicate hue.
From the perspective of technique then this is entirely down to a 13 inch wool applicator attached to an 8-foot long adjustable steel pole and some wooden tongue depressors (brushes are too old fashioned for me). It’s this use of unusual tools that gives me the ability to think about different ways to fuse and blend colours together. When I can’t sleep this is what I think about.
And don’t just imagine that all the action is confined to the brightly coloured sections either – there’s a myriad of things going on when you reach the darker parts, especially in the corners. I’m not a massive fan of monolithic slabs of paint joined together; I’ve always felt that to be a lazy technique and lacking in attention and originality. It’s one reason why I put so much detail into my paintings – that feeling like you should get as much from every bit as you can.
Plenty to look at
There are loads of nice touches to this painting. Like the blob of turquoise clusters or the purple shark-nose (can’t help it with the ocean references). Then there’s that area of bright pink fused with black and the repeating waves of aquamarine and metallic blue. Of course it’s very much themed after the oceans and other water-borne habitats so there will be naturally occurring references to those as you look at it. If the shapes don’t do it for you then the colours ought to.
Finding somewhere to hang it
Remind yourself that this is also pretty big too – not some shrinking violet of a paintings by any means. At 6ft tall and 4 feet wide it’s going to fill a wall very nicely when hung in portrait. Nice! It has a high gloss finish too meaning that hanging it in front of a direct light source will kill it – it will end up looking like a very expensive mirror.
Instead it’ll need side lighting or incumbent, secondary light. What I mean is that it’s fine for a space where ambient daylight can trickle past it rather than sitting opposite your bi-fold doors. In the evening it needs a spotlight ideally. But whatever the environment this is absolutely gorgeous.
Whether you like these colours or not it is still gorgeous. The tones are rich and deep, that aqua-turquoise is to die for and the delicate blue and pink make for perfect companions. I absolutely love it and I class this one as being on that list of ones I will always remember and be eternally fond of.
And curiously enough the phrase Aqua Marina (which I remember as the closing song in the Gerry Anderson kids TV classic Stingray) is also a diving school in Tenerife and a seaweed body cleanser made by Lush Cosmetics! Honestly, you just can’t make this stuff up! As abstract as the painting perhaps..?
- Canvas: Belgian cotton medium weave; 11 0z
- Preparation: One coat of Gesso primer.
- Paints: Enamel paint (9 colours) made to my own recipe
- Frame: 44mm Museum graded floating frame with 8 tensioning corner wedges.
- Hand-stretched and stapled on the reverse
- Signed on the reverse (so you can hang it in any orientation)
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