Red, black and white
If I ever had to pick three colours to take on to a desert island with me it would be red, black and white. Three strong, bold and defining colours that show each others’ merits off beautifully. For me it really doesn’t get better than that.
So when I put this colour combination together I seem to get something wonderful each time I use them. And with Keep Your Nightlight Burning that’s exactly what’s happened. What we have here is a large square canvas filled with something really rather fabulous – and you don’t have to like it to appreciate that. Does that sound crazy? If so then permit me to convince you otherwise.
For any kind of abstract painting to work properly there are a number things that need to go right. One of the most important of these is the first application of paint that goes on to the canvas.
On this painting I chose to load up with a special blend of gold and black that wasn’t mixed for too long. What this means is that you get small pockets of light and dark within the background layer. It’s a great effect and one that adds a bit of interest to what could have been a forgotten part of the piece.
And because it isn’t a pure black colour I am paving the way to use that on the foreground layers to help put depth into the main body of paint. The background may have the illusion of being black but a closer inspection reveals something much more involving. The bronze-like shimmer is very subtle and also quite warming. With such an intense painting I simply didn’t want to overload you with too much jet black; it just wouldn’t have worked as well.
Techniques and layers
There are three distinct finishes in the main body of the painting. If we move from the centre out then we’ve got a dense black followed by a large number of rivers and flows then we finish off at the outer edges with the drips and splashes – something that’s become the mainstay of my drip painting technique.
These three different finishes take us from calm all the way through to explosive. I wanted to create something that had a little bit more dimension and depth than some of the other paintings I have done in red, black and white – especially those that have had a dark background (I think there’s only ever been three including this one).
Over the top of these three ‘zones’ is that amazing firework red colour. It’s actually an eye-wateringly expensive fluorescent colour that’s just mesmerizing in daylight. The central hook part is the bit that brings everything together and was the last thing I painted.
You may also be able to spot hints of metallic gold in there too. Why I hear you ask? I just love it – and it looks amazing with the other three primary colours.
The perfect shape?
I really don’t think you can go wrong with a square canvas. Not only can you rotate it in four orientations (five if you go mad and use it as a diamond) but you can also bring balance and calm to a space – especially one where there are loads of rectangles and uneven shapes.
It’s impossible to show the textures and depth of paint on these photos but it really is quite impressive. I have to keep my file sizes down so that the page loads quickly so forgive me for that. But if you can then find a way to come and see this – it ‘s every bit as good as I say it is.
Earlier on I said you didn’t have to like it to appreciate right? I hope that you have a better insight into how an abstract painting like this is conceived, thought about and executed and the reason why it exists. It’s as pure as I can be as an artist and it’s where I am at my happiest.
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