This week’s workshop was focused on using oil paint in different, and in some cases quite challenging ways – one using monochrome high gloss paint, and by using a very diluted oil solution by mixing the paint with a lot of turps. I found it really hard to work in this way – I don’t really have an affinity with abstract painting and so when working from an image I found it really frustrating that the paint wasn’t doing what I wanted it to. Personally, I don’t really like the results of this experiment, the flatness and sheen of the surface and the black and white colours really don’t appeal to me, and again, because I was unable to produce something that looked like the image I was working from I became really put-off. for this reason I might leave the painting for a while and then possibly come back to use it as a ground.
The same goes for the other painting I produced in the workshop – although only in its early stages, I really don’t like the abstractness of the work the techniques produced – I think perhaps I’m quite intimidated by the idea that because my work does not represent or look like anything, in my eyes it looses some of its worth and is unable to communicate anything of significance. I may also end up using this painting as more of a ground – although I think I need to be careful not to complicate the message of my paintings.
Also this week I’ve been working on portraiture. Initially last week I asked a flatmate to sit for me and attempt to work from life, but it really didn’t go well and I think unless there is a clear and necessary reason for me not to, I might continue working from photographs – just because I find that before I have even started to paint, there is an image with its own light, composition and arrangement that I can work with – and most importantly, take my time over.
These images are of my failed attempt – I think part of the reason it went so wrong was because I used acrylic and the water took the primer straight off the board. I’ve now sort of wiped the slate clean and can make a new painting with a potentially interesting ground.
I then started work on this piece, based on a photo of the same person. I’m a lot happier with the results, however there isn’t a lot of interest in the image. Although the ground and the faded effect of the white is quite appealing, I don’t think the piece really says anything about either the subject or the idea of painting in a modern context. As I still have a few more boards of varying sizes to work with, I’m probably going to work on a few more portraits, and try to play with the composition and the structure of the ground to see if I can make something a little more out of the box.