The name for this painting, and indeed the subject matter that inspires it, is from a song by one of my favourite artists, Eric Johnson. A guitar-virtuoso who’s phrasing, compositions and tonal flexibility are without equal. I regularly listen to a track he performs called Last House on the Block – a bluesy improv that brings out the best of his live performances.
Anyway, if you listen to the structure of the song you can pick out these regular and strong blocks of sound in the main body then all the small nuances that appear as the track develops.Its these that inspired the use of blocks of colour in the composition of the painting.
It’s this sub-structure that makes up the bulk of the painting – using them as a construction method to bound all the additional elements upon.
The break points (parts of quiet melodic playing) are the thin lines and interwoven brush strokes, then as the song build to the inevitable climax of sound and ferocity the applications become frantic and explosive (seen in the tail-end drags and loose over-blends of paint that lie in between the solid blocks of colour. When all that dies down you’re still left with those solid block foundations. Beginning, middle and end.
And colour is the other point of note as I have gone for a palette I’ve never used before. Stay with me here…
In part I let the colours of the song dictate what colours I use for the painting. I hear much of the world in colour. By this I mean the sound of people’s voices, the way a song is played, how lyrics are written, it triggers colour responses in my head automatically. In fact the difficult thing is NOT let that influence me when I have my mind fixed on a certain colour scheme I must stick to.
So, in reality, it’s easy to let colour dictate a painting to me when I want it to. Bizarrely I also get shapes to react in a similar way but we’ll leave that one for another day.
I guess the final thing I want to mention is the angles that play out in the painting. Listen to the base line of Chris Maresh, if you can then you’ll understand how this crazy talented bassist weaves a colourful and delicious melody underneath the guitar. The way that visualizes itself to me is like an angle or shift in the regularity of what you’d expect – like he’s pushing the whole thing over! These two play in such harmony with each other they can both be off on some other plane yet still be together as one unit. Just love that.