The facts and figures
7 days of preparation, 30 hours of painting, 12 metres of wood framing, 10 feet of canvas, eight wooden spoons, seven litres of paint, five spatulas, four litres of primer and a couple of aching knees are what it took to get this painting from an idea to a finished piece.
It takes a particular kind of mind-frame to attack a canvas of this size, especially with a drip painting. This is the reason why I don’t do many of them in this size – it’s just a monumental effort to organize and paint. It has taken eight months to dry properly, such is the volume of paint on it.
This particular piece measures 2870mm x 1440mm x 45mm. It was painted in six shades of oil based gloss and matt paint. Each of the paints was thinned to achieve a characteristically dense but even flowing consistency. It’s heavy which makes this piece feel substantial – and I also used a ridiculous amount of paint on it too.
The canvas was painted on the floor (see above) then wrapped around a seasoned timber frame, so the painting wraps around the edges.
How to interpret this drip painting
Where do I start? The first thing to notice is that from a sensible viewing distance the painting is very controlled and linear (i.e. the painting is very balanced, no single part of it dominates another – almost like it’s made up of a single entity). I didn’t want to highlight any particular area as this would detract from all the other areas – and because it is so big this would be a disaster as you would miss the rest of the painting from this distance.
Getting a flat, uniform appearance from a drip technique is hard to do and requires constant monitoring as the paint is going on.
When I look at this piece I get balance from a distance, a singular, linear mass that has obvious structure but still acting as a single entity. As I move closer I begin to see a completely different story as the detail in the stroke work becomes apparent.
These pictures reveal such a small part of the painting but represent the astonishing complexity of the paint and how it has been applied to the canvas. I painted this piece over three weeks, day in, day out, allowing certain parts to dry whilst others I did not.
Would Jackson Pollock approve?
Well I hope so. I have used my skill and judgment to translate some of the techniques he used into a new painting. I didn’t want to copy his style as that would be dis-respectful. What I wanted to do was to use the principles he used to use and make them into something of my own.
Thankfully the painting is instantly recognizable as being ‘like a Pollock’ – something I am enormously pleased by as it proves that the painting does what it set out to achieve – as a monument to one of the greatest periods in Modern Art History.
Learn more about my drip painting technique