I wanted to briefly mention one of the technical achievements of this painting before anything else. For the very first time I’ve used a technique that creates valleys and peaks of paint. Now, if you’re used to seeing acrylic paints on canvas then you may be aware of an additive called structure gel that allows you to form textures when mixed with paint. However, trying to do this with enamel paint is very difficult.
What I’ve done is found a combination of ingredients that coagulate the paint whilst it’s wet on the surface. I can manipulate these applications into shapes that then hold until cured. Historically this has always eluded me but now I’ve got it cracked. Anyway, as some of the close up photos reveal, there are some pretty striking movements and forms appearing; things I’ve not done or seen before. In some areas it’s very subtle and in others I’ve shifted paint away completely – revealing the weave of the canvas underneath. I’ve also added in a selection of water-soluble inks too; a material at odds with the solvents in the enamel paints. Somehow though it all works beautifully. It is hard to describe the tactile nature of this piece and no photograph is ever going to translate that but I do hope you get some idea of how the paint looks like it’s been stretched out and torn in places.
And so to the painting. It’s a very natural and earthly colour combination and one that is tempered by small additional elements of white, silver, orange and pink. It’s perhaps the rising figures in the centre of the painting that give way to the biggest reaction. And it’s an unusual thing for me to concentrate on one area of a painting to become the main focus. But I like to play with concepts and twist things around. With Holy Diver I’ve done just that. The whole painting grows from the centre and moves outwards.
For me it’s all about what’s happening in the middle. Whether you see it as something emerging from the depths, a shark, a whirlwind or an exotic plant makes no difference as long as you connect with it in some way. The great thing about this kind of abstract is that you can always see something different in it. It will never be restricted to any particular visual references. And for that you can make it into a thousand different paintings if you want.