Solar Winds is a new contemporary art work that encompasses everything I love about my craft. It’s colourful, full of intricate details, is exquisitely put together and is beautifully finished. I can appreciate that may come across all high and mighty but that’s not my intention. It’s simply a statement of fact.
If, for example, I took the subject of the way it’s finished I can tell you how the painting wraps around the canvas frame so fluidly that the painting continues all the way around it without interruption. It’s the properties of my paints that allow me to bend and shape them. I am not a fan of the way many artists finish the sides of their canvases – in so many cases with a rough edge or with the thumb tacks showing; even worse is the dreaded over-paint in white or black acrylic. Blah! It’s a poor show and it’s lazy.
Then there’s the way I have layered the background (a work of art in itself) and the layers over the top. In fact I have developed an alternative curing process that now allows me a greater time period between sessions. What this effectively does is allow the paints to semi-cure (and to hold their shape) yet still allow me to blend other paints into those layers, sometimes days afterwards. The net result is a fusion of paint that doesn’t give away what’s been applied and in what order – even though they may have been done over four or five individual sessions.
The reason I have been working hard on this is down to the way the paints sink if you add too much in a short period of time. I’ve seen many a good painting be ruined by my over-use of paint, in too high a volume and in too short a time period. But, historically, leaving it to the next day or the day after meant I couldn’t blend the next one in because of what’s cured beforehand – and so on and so on. This used to mean I couldn’t fuse everything together. Now though, I’ve cracked it. It’s a clever technique that’s only now beginning to open up new possibilities in paint blending. And so far it’s taken three years to get it right.
For me though it’s the combination of that lime green swoosh and the aqua-turquoise that brings the painting alive. Without these two crucial elements the painting would struggle to find an identity. it’s these two elements that bring the rest together. I would also argue that the red accents also play a part in adding warmth and depth but in a less obvious way I suppose.
The swooshes (I have yet to reference them in any other meaningful way) are what make up the main shapes in this painting. I love this constant back and forth motion that loops and swooshes create. I do them quite a lot. And I like that. I like the way they go off and come back, how they interlink through the centre and also how they have their own personalities. Very often I change the density of the paint to get different effects – sometimes I dissipate them and sometimes I keep their structures. I change the width and pour rates as well as their viscosity. So even for a regular and relatively simple shape it’s surprising how much you can manipulate them into spectacular forms.
In Solar Winds I use a number of techniques to great effect to demonstrate the ways in which the same pattern can be altered. It’s a bit like the visual equivalent of Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ at work (the principle of slightly altering the same thing each time it’s repeated). Let me point out I’m not saying it’s the art equivalent of that masterpiece of classical music – I am merely pointing out that the principle of modifying a repeated structure is at work in this painting.
I don’t think the name needs any explanation; part of the process of naming it was to pay homage to the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) and some of the stunning images you can see online. I’d imagine, with such a powerful and beautiful subject matter like that, that this won’t be the last painting to be influenced by it.