The ideas behind the painting
You can probably guess that I like natural wonders. This original painting is about molten lava, volcanoes, intense heat and other things like supernova and cosmic dust clouds. It’s a bold collection of subject matter that needs to be treated with caution in order to attempt to do it justice.
It’s one reason why this is the first of four canvases I’ve done based around the subjects I’ve mentioned. There was no way I could empty my head of these images into just one piece.
I wanted to find a way to translate the majesty of molten rock and convey the enormous, searing temperatures at work when it spews from the earth. It’s one of the reasons that white plays such an important role in the painting.
The first thing I did was choose the heaviest canvas I could. Something this dramatic needs a solid foundation. The addition of range of 8 carefully selected colours form the backbone of the piece; subtle inclusions of raspberry and pink as well as purple and grape help add a little character to some of the more elemental colours like red and yellow.
The paints are are a mix of gloss finishes. Some high and some low. It’s an impossible task to capture that in static photographs but I can assure you that the range of light reflection as you move around it is wonderful. I believe it’s important to add as many dimensional elements to my paintings as I can – I don’t like them to feel flat. So the materials are carefully chosen to do just that.
Creating the drama
I’d considered filling the whole canvas with red and moving on from there. But this would have been an opportunity missed. Part of the thoughts I have when I think of molten lava is of it being surrounded by dense dark rock. This is why I have the two large areas of black. If we move across to the space and cosmic reference for a moment it’s equally apt to include them for obvious reasons.
Building upon these are the main paint applications. I’ve shaped, poured and formed the paint to be controlled up to a point but also to find its own path. I think it was important to put flows within flows and also send some paint off into other directions. It’s as if these small areas are like mini eruptions and have personalities all of their own.
The finished effect
Well I certainly get the fiery feeling of heat and of molten rock but I’d be interested to know what it means to you? At the end of the day it can be anything you want it to be. I’m really happy with the end result. It’s been a devil to stretch due to the sheer volume of paint that’s gone into it but the effort is worthwhile.
The layering is fantastic with significant textural changes across the whole surface area as well as those wonderful light changes thanks to the mix of gloss mediums. I think if you want something rich and powerful and need something to pop each time you walk past it then this should be on your shopping list to see.
- Canvas: Polyester 340gsm
- Preparation: One coat of primer and one additional skim coat
- 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
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