Black and purple
These two colours are a perfect match for one another. In this painting choosing the correct tone for the purple was critical. I wanted it to have some warmth in it – so in this painting I have it blended a base colour with a little raspberry and the merest hint of pink. Warmth was an important consideration for this piece; if it’s going to be hung in a living space or where people gather then it has to feel connected.
The other addition of warmth is achieved through the use of a rich metallic gold. In fact I use two of them plus a dash of copper for good measure. The black is so final and so dominant that in order for it to be tempered correctly the other colours needed to be added around it. Right from the start the painting was always going to be built around the giant black line running through the centre.
Using horizontal shapes
Lines and regular forms can be a little imposing and sometimes challenging. In a world full of straight lines and boundaries they can be interpreted as barriers or means of control.
However, they also scream of order, definition and structure. Most of our homes are built this way; our kitchens are full of lines and I’m sure you think about organizing your work day on the commute in every morning? As humans we hate being constrained but absolutely need boundaries and lines of definition. In fact it’s the bit that helps us be free, creative and spontaneous.
When our world is understood and organized we can let go of the other stuff. Life always seems to be a balancing act doesn’t it? Anyway, lines are good. Structure is good. Regularity is good. There’s a pattern emerging here…
Paint effects and layers
When I use horizontal shapes and regular structures it can sometime be a challenge to get the details right. However, I always get there in the end and in Saturation Point there’s all my trademark detailing but cleverly hidden within those horizontal movements of paint.
There are some very intricate blends, tiny spatters, droplets, drags, feathering and texturizing. It’s always tricky to show with a camera lens but it’s all there.
Balancing the black
Balance is crucial for paintings like these. There are a number of tricks I use for achieving this. The first is the placing of elements around the black line in the centre. The top and bottom is flanked by two generous white movements for starters. Either side of this is a feature of gold and then further on out from these we get a subtle lilac at the top and a feature of grey and silver at the bottom.
Colour placement is carefully considered as is the length and thickness of each one. In a final hurrah the purple is the last accent colour that’s added. It has to be this way as the other elements dictate where this last, and most important, colour goes.
With each step away from black I am working the colours in sequence and in unison. It’s a bit like making a sandwich but you start with the filling, instead of the bread, and work outwards from there.
It’s also worth noting that I have the additional consideration of working from either side as well as up and down. So thinking about which side to work from, and how far inwards to go means I have to make very careful decisions with each pass of paint.
Line structures may appear straightforward but their execution is often the opposite.
- Canvas: Polyester 340gsm
- Preparation: One coats of primer, one additional skim coat
- Paints: Enamel paint (8 colours) made to my own recipe
- Frame: 44mm Museum graded floating frame with 8 tensioning corner wedges.
- Hand-stretched and stapled on the reverse