THE STORY BEHIND IT
I’ve recently found a lot of pleasure in painting with blended colours. For Flames Under My Feet I’ve chosen a bright vivid red and fused it together with a reassuringly warm orange. For a base layer (background) this kind of blended gradient allows me to be a little more carefree when it come to the main layers over the top.
And what a spectacular sequence of layers there are. Am I being a little too congratulatory with myself? Well, I don’t think so to be honest.
For a start I know how tricky the shapes have been to get right. From the obvious white one that binds the whole thing together to the myriad of small underpins that make up the whole.
The success or failure of this kind of fluid shape is down to two things: how long I need to wait between applications and being able to control the actions of my arms and wrists effectively.
There’s a always a direct correlation between what your brain requests and what your limbs carry out. Bringing those two into a seamless action is where practice comes in. And I practice each time I’m about to pour on another river of paint.
I’ve had instances where I tell myself what I need to do yet my hand seems to wander off in the opposite direction. At this level of concentration I can’t afford the luxury of relying on happy accidents – they seldom happen.
Controlling movement is as important for a dancer or musician as it is for an artist, especially where it’s critical to the painting being created. I love the inclusion of pink and purple in a few key places as well as the fractal-like feathering I’ve created around the edges of the swoosh (technical term!).
The contrast of the emptiness in the background to the involvement of the swoosh is one of the reasons why this predominantly red abstract works so well. One allows you to see the other and back again. And perhaps the only reason they work is that they are together on the same canvas. I guess opposites really do attract.
One of the other cool things about this painting is the way I’ve blended everything together as if it’s one layer. In fact it was actually painted over 11 days and four sessions. The periods in between were the most tricky to manage as the cure times varied greatly. Much of that was down to the characteristics of the paint when it was thinned or chemically altered.
I literally am back and forth every hour so I can judge when the next layer should go on. The trick is to wait long enough to let it mix but not too long so that it sticks out. Of course if I am too eager it disappears underneath the paint that’s already there. Sometimes that’s good but on this occasion it most certainly wouldn’t have been! Timing is everything.
OK, so it’s not huge like some of my work, but it does have a real presence. It’s not a room-stealer and it won’t fight you but it will command attention when you walk past and it will always feel warm and secure.
If you have a penchant for red and orange but are worried about going over the top then give me a call, we’ll try this in your space and maybe pop a simple red vase in the corner. I call this my ‘Orange Stockpot Principle’ and I’ll talk about it another day – it’s the one golden rule to obey when you’re creating a space with a single themed colour.
Actually I should write a page on that soon; if you’re curious as to what the hell I’m going on about though feel free to drop me a line.
Oh, and one last thing – the name of this painting is inspired by a gorgeous song called Fire Under My Feet by Leona Lewis.
- Canvas: Belgian cotton medium weave; 11 0z
- Preparation: Two coats of primer, one additional skim coat
- Paints: Enamel paint (6 colours) made to my own recipe
- Frame: 44mm Museum graded floating frame with 8 tensioning corner wedges.
- Hand-stretched and stapled on the reverse
- Signed on the reverse (so you can hang it in any orientation)
- Book a visit to my Gallery in the UK. Mail or call to arrange
- I will come and see you with a selection of my art – all included in the price
- I run a fully-insured international art delivery service and take my work all over the world
- EU, USA and other International shipping is available
- My team will hang this painting for you
- If you like this painting here’s what to do next