All things blue
Blue is a wonderful colour. I adore it. In Gemini Rising I have used three variations and thrown in a turquoise in to lighten everything up.
I’ve mixed in different additives to change the characteristics of the paints as they were put on the canvas. This means that they look textural and are far from a flat linear surface.
I kept some blue highlights all the way through the painting and fused this with a little purple inside the two main oval structures. From a technique point of view the paint has been applied using an extending pole and a series of foam and wool mop rollers.
Making an impact
The most noticeable thing about this painting is perhaps its large size. It’s a wall filler for sure and you will need to have a pretty big space to put it in. But don’t be put off by that because you’d be surprised by how well it behaves.
It’s imposing and bold but it’s not a painting that punches your face each time you walk past it. The careful use of three shades of blue paint have given it some wonderful dimensions and a deliciously reflective quality that bounces light around in some spectacular ways.
The shapes that form the main part of the painting can remind you of whatever you want really and even though they were loosely based on my desire to create a pair of angels wings you shouldn’t necessarily take that as being gospel (no pun intended there!).
Creating the details
For an abstract painting with a relatively simple composition there are a surprising amount of small details bursting out of it.
Around the blue tones (at the edges of the painting) you can find tiny seems of purple and grey as well as small rivers and valleys of paint; often these are extremely subtle tonal variations that were mixed on the canvas as I applied paint over paint.
The blue layers also feature some bubbling textures which were chemically induced to mimic the feeling of moving water. It’s not relevant to the subject matter of the painting – I put them in because they look cool!
Up close the inner structures are truly mesmerizing. Tiny cells and small striations of paint dance through the main paint applications and can only really be appreciated when you stick your nose right in. In many areas the paint looks like feathers – which is good seeing as I was inspired to paint this after reading a book on fallen angels.
From darkness to light – revealing the secret
One of the things I tell people (who ask me how to paint abstracts) is to get to grips with the whole light and dark thing. Our world is packed full of it on a physical and emotional level. It’s an essential tool in an artist’s toolbox.
In Gemini Rising I am using that to great effect. Most obviously is the outer blue halo that envelops the two main structures but, at the opposite end of the scale, the part that gives us the light is a shimmering metallic silver that sits in the top left part of the two central structures.
The whole point of this amazing silver addition is two-fold. Firstly it adds depth by promoting the thought of an actual light contained within the structures and, secondly, it’s light reflective (unlike pure white) so I can increase its relative luminosity by adding a spotlight or two.
The effect is extraordinary. From the density of those dark brooding blues you get a sudden ray of light piercing your peripheral vision. Add some carefully chosen placements of metallic gold and (an amazing turquoise) and you get some beautiful shaded gradients of light and dark that sit perfectly within the confines of the two extremes. I can’t show this too well on static photographs but trust me it’s epic!
So the painting is big, it’s very blue and it’s packed full of light and dark. Now all you gotta do is find the wall space and eight and a half grand and you’re done!