9 December 2009

the blank canvas

In retrospect: It was the 9th of December, I remember it vaguely. I think it rained. Possibly. I hauled my things out to the loft, placed the pink "path of least resistance" on the easel, and loaded the palette knife with some luscious hot pink paint.

At some point, I grew bored or things came to a temporary conclusion. I couldn't think of anything to do, so I wandered down the shed and finished constructing some canvas frames. By evening I was stretching canvas and had 3 of them finished, each measuring 80cm x 120cm. There is nothing quite like the purity of a fresh blank canvas...

...to strike fear into the fragile artist's psyche.

7 December 2009

exhibition of Neon Paintings at the Caroline of Brunswick

I have just hung an exhibition of my neon paintings at the Caroline of Brunswick.

My work is installed in the cosy, fake-fur clad boudoir area at the back of the pub (to the right). They're mainly more abstract neon paintings, plus the one of the neon cat. The exhibition will be up for at least the next two months, so pop in for a pint and a look.

The address is:
Caroline of Brunswick
39 Ditchling Road
East Sussex
and here is a map

And here are some photos Verity took during installation:

Neon Painting: Commemorative Date Plaques

During the summer I made a series of three neon commemorative date plaques as wedding gifts for friends on their special days.

If you would like to commission one for a special date (anniversary, birthday, etc) please email me iheartneon[at]gmail.com to discuss your requirments.
Commemorative Date Plaque: 15.08.09, 2009, oil and mixed media on canvas, 40cm x 50cm

Commemorative Date Plaque: 05.09.09, 2009, oil and mixed media on canvas, 40cm x 50cm

Commemorative Date Plaque: 11.09.09, 2009, oil and mixed media on canvas, 40cm x 50cm

2 December 2009

All hands on deck

All hands on deck. I have just been offered wall-space to show some of my paintings. Immediately.

My initial enquiry was with a view to exhibiting a set of new paintings sometime in early 2010, but I do have a few finished pieces hanging around that I could show. Late last night I drew up a short-list of potentials:

"Three and Eight"
"Set To Stun"
"The Path of Least Resistance 1 (blue)"
"The Path of Least Resistance 2 (red)"
the one with pink neon lines which I still haven't thought up a title for
"What's New Pussycat?"
"She and I"

I finished blacking out the edges of "Three and Eight", then I propped the pink neon untitled canvas on the easel. It was looking a little unconvincing in the void areas, so I went at it with some black and white acrylics and some deep green water colour. Better. Just need to wait for a title to come now. I signed it at last, though:

I also signed "Kryptonitis":

And "Three and Eight"

I finished off with some real proper werk: developing the orange-y red glow on "Home Sweet Home", and then I bubble-wrapped the exhibition paintings ready for transportation. Now all I need is a lift.

25 November 2009

meanwhile, in the spare bedroom...

It is raining, and then stopping, then raining again. And there are builders with big machines moving hardcore out the front. Rather than drag the behemoth 'SMILE' canvas down the stairs, out the front door, round to the garage and up the ladder, I took the bold decision of werking on it in the spare bedroom, where it presently resides.

I werked and werked with chalk, fingers and dry-brush; then stopped and lay on the makeshift bed to get some perspective; then werked; then ate lunch; then bashed away on my spanish guitar; then scrawled some lyrics to a prospective new Miss Pain song entitled "The Last of the Great French Lovers"; then werked some more with titanium white oil paint, blending it out.

For a time it seemed I was going too far with the spread of the white neon glow, but the photos I took suggest it is working. I stopped at around 5pm, called it a day and left an instructional note to any visitors.

19 November 2009

Confessions of a Wednesday Painter - the movie

Back in March, I mentioned, in passing, a lo-fi video I had made. The video was a mock-serious/tongue-in-cheek introduction to "the artist" and his werk. I sent it in as part of my submission for a BBC/Charles Saatchi-is-looking-for-an-artist-to-patronise TV show. I wasn't shortlisted. I suppose they didn't get it.

The video contains shaky footage of a tour around my "studio", showing werks in progress and the general filth and disarray of my working space, intercut with some finished paintings, with an ultra-deadpan monologue over the top.

It is a fine piece of werk...

"School Of Saatchi" the TV show airs tonight, 9pm, BBC2.

18 November 2009

It clicked

I decided it was about time I put some of these canvases to bed. ‘SMILE’ and the ‘rock face’ have been hanging around drying for a good few weeks now, I’ve had plenty of time to live with them, which means plenty of time to become a little objective about them.

I took ‘SMILE’ to task this morning. Although it has a subtle glow, I felt it needed to glow some MORE. So outside, in the gusting winds, I went at it with some white chalk, fingers and a paintbrush. It looked bad at first, but by the time I was through the glowing was growing. It will need a few more sessions, though, I daresay. I took the behemoth canvas back in the house, leaving faint evidence of my werkings in the leaf litter.

Next, that ‘rock face’, or at least the dark chasm enveloping the pink neon glow. Problem is it still isn’t quite enveloping it intensely enough. This could take some time…

I sat and pondered the ‘rock face’. I took photographs. It clicked. There is a specific section of the neon path that is not right. I will deal with that next week. Or the week after.

A moment’s deliberation. I decided to go back to werking on ‘SMILE’ at least I’ll feel like I’m getting somewhere.

It got too dark to werk outside, so I had to stop. ‘SMILE’ looks great in the half-light, not quite there in the artificial light yet, though.

5pm: just got some time to black out the edges of ‘Three and Eight’ – that is the one painting I do believe is now ready to be signed and released. Watch this space.

11 November 2009

thick red paint

Last week I had the day off, I needed it. I made up for it a bit by spending a few hours chopping wood last night, I now have timber ready to make 3 canvases 80cm x 130cm – this will be my new format.

Today I am back in the studio. I have inspiration. It is mainly inspiration for new paintings. I am trying to channel it into current ones. I spent hallowe’en weekend in post-mushroom hell. Thankfully BBC4 had programmed an alternative horror-fest: an evening with Francis Bacon. It gave me ideas, it gave me inspiration, it made me want to paint.

‘Home Sweet Home’ is being taken to task. A palette thick with red pigments, I am here to paint…

10 dirty brushes, 3 wet canvases, 10 minutes to 2, and I’m cleaning up.

1 November 2009

Lesson learned

I estimate I was in the studio for just over an hour today...

I picked some wild mushrooms yesterday, I am 99% sure they were edible (I'd eaten a bit of one the night before with no ill effects). My dinner and glass of wine did not sit well with me. Had some odd shifting-vision and a terrible gut-ache. Got panicked that I'd poisoned myself. Spent most of the day researching mushrooms on the internet, to check for sure if they were okay. I am still not sure. Though I am certain they were not deadly poisonous, at least.

If I don't make another post, you do not need to wonder why. In the meantime I am looking out for signs of jaundice and kidney infection...

21 October 2009

The critique-quarantine

I've been keeping odd hours of late, working half a day here, a few hours there, leaving early so I can cycle to the station in time to travel before the forbidden commuter hours.

And still nothing is really getting me fired up to do some proper painting. I paint a spot here, a few brush-strokes there. Some are nearly finished. I will find certainly find new avenues when they are.

Today I werked on 4 canvases: I practiced my white neon - 'SSSHH', and another 'path of least resistance'; I re-visited the sinister crow; I made some more finishing touches to 'Three and Eight', which now hangs in the gallery in a kind of critique-quarantine.

15 October 2009

a vice like grip

So I sat there on my little plastic stool, nursing a cup of tea, with my back turned to the easel. It went on for an hour or so. My wrist still hurting, and not one single painting inspiring me to pick up a brush.

I decided if I couldn't get on with anything, I should werk out how to do something new: this 'something new' would, at some point, warrant building a set of tall, thin canvases. I measured and scaled up the subject by 10 times - 170cm x 9cm.

Next I went to the dusty jigsaw workshop and set up the mitre saw. Conclusion: if I was to cut any lengths of timber to 9cm, I would definitely be risking my fingers. I did a test, and realised that the bloody thing doesn't even cut a straight angle anyway (this explains why I had to make a wedge to get the last canvas I made square.). Tried to adjust the blade, made it worse. Then concluded that even if it did cut straight, there is absolutely no way of making a precision cut, as there are no guides on the bed to show where the chop will be made.

Much swearing followed... then I went and bought one of these old-fashioned manual bits of kit on eBay for a fraction of what the electric one cost. It's built like a tank and painted in green hammerite, just what the doctor ordered.

7 October 2009

a write-off

I've decided to write-off today. I did start painting for a bit, but I have RSI and my wrist hurts, and nothing I did was right. And anyway I need to leave in a couple of hours, so what's the point?

Normal service will resume next Wednesday.

1 October 2009

painting: That Fiery Inferno In The Pit Of My Belly

Here's a commissioned painting I finished last Christmas.

The brief was for a painting to hang on a high wall under a vaulted ceiling - it was a slightly odd width/height ratio, which made for a tricky composition. The only other factor was the colour palette: deep, burnt oranges and reds, with black.

With the proposed hanging height in mind I set to creating a painting that would work best when looked up to, emphasising the height and size of the foreground elements, and drawing the viewers eye in to the very depths of the flaming inferno.

The colour palette took me back to my 1st year at art school, when I produced a set of four paintings depicting apocalyptic scenes from the Book of Revelation - All fire and brimstone and volcanic eruptions.

This canvas began life as a slow, oozing river of lava. But over the course of about a year, it gradually metamorphosed into a fiery cavern of molten magma - some kind of hellish pit of internal combustion. I lightened the mood, cheekily adding a tiny ship, chugging its way through the volatile lake of fire.

That Fiery Inferno In The Pit Of My Belly, 2008, mixed media on canvas, 125cm x 78cm

If you would like to commission a painting, please email: iheartneon[at]gmail.com
You can view more of my work online at: Saatchi/yourgallery and artists.de

30 September 2009

i heart thick paint

I came back for a few hours on Thursday last week. I spent my time knocking back the “rock face” with some Titanium White and chalk. And yesterday afternoon I partook in some Tuesday Painting – I discovered that Permanent Magenta mixes much better with Ivory Black (rather than my staple Lamp Black). I put his to the test in the void that almost swallows the pink neon. The canvas has been retired again, and is so far standing up to my silent scrutiny, hanging in the lounge.

I celebrated by christening a new No.1 brush. As you can see, I needed it.

I heart thick paint: mmmmmm, slap it on.

And now for a quick exit, so I can cycle to the station

23 September 2009

Filling the void

I am filling the void, replacing outward-going paintings with onward-going ones. Two weeks of feeling listless and lost in a painter’s void, and I’m clawing my way out, werking on “three and eight”.

I pay some more attention to the sinister crow, bringing its red neon perch to shimmering life.

I keep looking at the clock. I can’t kid myself. Even though the void is being gradually filled, my heart is not completely in it. Maybe it’s because I’m a little out of sorts, maybe it’s just one of those days. I have grand ideas for new paintings, but I really must finish the unfinished first – clear the decks of at least 2 of these canvases that I have lingered for far too long.

An inventory of werks cluttering the loft:
1. Home Sweet Home – neon in green and orange-red
2. Three and Eight – neon in deep red and green
3. Something Sinister This Way Comes – crow perched on deep red neon
4. Ssshh – white neon on black
5. Wish You Were Here – large format seascape with red neon.
6. Ne Travaillez Jamais – neon of indeterminate colour on dilapidated wall.
7. The Path of Least Resistance 4 (white) – barely started white neon on small canvas
8. Untitled (blue neon electrical currents) – small canvas

I am determined to finish 1 and 2 as a matter of priority. 3 and 4, I werk on as the whim takes me; 5 is my next big project; 6, a long-forgotten werk, awaiting a spark of inspiration; 7 and 8, their day may or may not come.

I stopped looking at the clock. I stopped thinking about what I could be doing. I cleaned up my brushes. I squeezed out some Lemon Yellow and Emerald Green and I werked away at the three green neon strips of ‘Three and Eight’, then I went back over the eight red strips, blurring the edges of the bright white centres. I think I may take it inside tonight and hang it for a silent, intermittent critique. One thing I can’t decide is whether it actually looks better upside down. This only occurred to me as I werked on it the wrong way up, earlier today.

One thing I do know is that it is 5.40pm, which, in theory, means that any extra werk I do from now on is a bonus. ‘Three and Eight’ is upside down and on the wall. I have some of the yellow-green mix left to use on ‘Home Sweet Home’…

And relax. A sip of apple schnapps. Clean up the brushes. Exit via ladder.

17 September 2009

The return of the Thursday Painter.

The Thursday Painter has temporarily retired the “rock face” painting. It hangs in the house awaiting casual scrutiny of an evening. And then there were seven. Seven canvases at varying stages of conception: 2 that are of little interest – started and then ignored; 4 that are presently “on the go”; and1 that I try to ignore - a huge elephant sat just at the top of the ladder.

For a few weeks, there, I was on a roll: Werking away with the paintbrush, knowing almost intuitively where to pass each brush-stroke. Wednesdays and Thursdays here in this loft-space, I felt like an artist. Maybe it was the focus, and knowing I had deadlines to complete each of those commemorative date paintings by. Maybe I need more deadlines, something to aim for. I am feeling rudderless again.

Back from lunch, and tickling away at the sinister crow. It shouldn’t be like this. I am almost ready to give up on it completely, start a new painting – this was only really a sketch, a trial, an experiment – a small-scale maquette to see how it would work. To see if I could make it work. I take up a brush and go at it with conviction. I am happier with it now, still got some way to go, but definitely worth persevering.

Goodbye Crow, hello Ssshh. I just can’t seem to get this white neon to work for me. I don’t know whether to stay here and struggle on, or call it a day and go and do something else. If I clean my brushes, is that admitting defeat? I feel all cold inside. I feel like going in.

9 September 2009

The Painter's Void

The date is 09.09.09. The world did not end at nine minutes and nine seconds past nine this morning. I was on the internet, so I would have seen something. What is wrong is that my lower-back pain is nagging again and I have an ulcer on the tip of my tongue which catches on all these jagged things called teeth that fill my cake-hole. It is not conducive to a good days werk.

Top-secret painting number 3 is now finished and signed. It sits in the house ready to be wrapped and to go to its new home.

Another void is left in its wake: The Painters Void. I liken it to writer’s block, only it’s the emptiness and deflation you feel having finished a piece, rather than the anxiety at embarking on a new venture. I have no problems embarking on new werks. In fact I constantly have to stop myself.

There have been positive reports filtering through about top-secret paintings 1 and 2. It seems they were well received. Phew. I am hoping for a hat-trick.

‘Home Sweet Home’ has taken up residence on the easel. I have been tackling the orangey-red neon that is yet to meet my standards.

It still does not meet my standards.

I have at least composed a rough post about Les Beatles for the L’Amour Electronique blog.

I feel like going home.

3 September 2009

workman-like werk

Yes we are a day late this week, aside from that it is business as usual: I have a nagging pain in my lower back (a symptom of camping over the bank-holiday weekend), which is causing some discomfort as I perch on the stool, and is thus hampering today’s progress.

Top-secret painting number 2 is signed and awaiting release:

Top-secret painting number 3 is on the easel looking almost finished, but not quite there enough for my liking. It has a week to get itself ready for its grand debut.

Outside, summer is pretty much over, and autumnal wind and rain is paying a visit.

And then I werked on the crow, perched on a deep red glowing strip of neon. It has a working title: “Something Sinister This Way Comes”.

Time to crack open the Alizarin Crimson – I have a number of red neon pieces in various states, and I can see one of them definitely needs some deeper, darker red tones introduced. The painting in question is “three and eight”, the red neon strips have been attended to, and now it is time for lunch. A long lunch - The kind of lunch you take when you haven’t got anything really tempting to come back to. I’m in post-painting completion limbo: an object that has taken up so much of my time and attentions has been taken away. There are a number of surrogates, but none has yet fallen into the gaping hole it has left.

I continue to werk on “three and seven”, it is workman-like werk, not fire-in-the-belly werk. But it is still werk, and werk is what I am here for.

27 August 2009

A Joy

Regular visitors (i.e. me) may have noticed that the trend for clocking in at (some-minutes-past) 9am every week has well and truly been bucked. For a short while there was a fixed pattern, I’d get in as soon after 9 as I could, switch on the computer, go and make some tea, and then sit and ramble on for a while instead of painting. These days I usually leave the computer off until after lunch. These days I’m far more productive.

Alas, today I’ve had to power up the old workhorse to look at some photos of SPQR to inspire me for top-secret painting number 2. I need it more or less finished by the close of play.

I’m pretty happy with how it’s looking at this stage, if I’m able to add an extra coat of white to the numbers next week, it should hopefully meet my standards.

Number 2 is safe inside the house, awaiting my scrutiny this evening. Number 3 is up on the easel, awaiting my attentions.

I paint another white layer over the numbers, I add more white to the immediate glow and feather it out. I emphasise the shadows with a B-grade pencil, knock back the shadows with more white paint and then add more graphite hatching to give the darkness a shimmering surface that catches the light from certain angles. Not much more I can do on this one today. I have 2 weeks to get it finished. I wish I could snap my fingers and it would be dry…

Back at the “rock face”, trying to werk up the magenta neon glow. It’s just not doing it for me. Another layer goes on, I make it loose and flowing. Still no joy. Press on… JOY!

That’s better. Everything is more under control now.

It’s amazing what a little distance can do. I haven’t werked on this painting I like to call “three and eight” for quite a while, but with SPQR finished, ‘SMILE’ in limbo, and the top-secret paintings werked to the full, I decided to pull it out and give it some time. The fact that I’ve not spent the past few weeks absorbed in every brush-stroke on its surface liberated me to just leap in and paint without too much thought or deliberation. Yes, it was a joy.

20 August 2009

listless, directionless, rudderless

I woke up late, I’m still tired, and my hayfever is spoiling the show somewhat. I have just temporarily retired ‘I THINK OF YOU AND I SMILE’ to the spare bedroom. The spare room is in a state of undecoration, so the painting fits in well there with its dilapidated looks. I will leave it there to mature and gain some independence, and hopefully when I return to it in a few weeks it will be ready to face the world.

It always leaves a gaping hole when I finish a painting (or at least stop werking on one). I know I have two top-secret paintings to be getting on with, but it’s the ones like ‘SMILE’ that I really care about.

But I must press on with the top-secret werks, as I only have 2 weeks to finish number 2, and 3 weeks to finish number 3. Why the top-secret-ness you may be wondering? Well, I’m not labouring under any grand delusions that anyone actually reads what goes on around here, but as it is in the public domain, there is still an ultra-slim chance they might stumble across it and spoil the surprise.

I am now officially flagging. I’ve werked on number 3, and put it aside. Propped that wretched ‘rock face’ on the easel and been tempted to scrub out the whole pink neon area. Painted three sides of number 2 black, for want of anything constructive to do. I am sorely tempted to call it a day. Maybe I’ll stop for lunch. Maybe everything will seem okay after that.

I’m back. I’ve had lunch, a coffee, a power-nap/lie-down, and a piece of cake. I took a sneak peak at ‘SMILE’ and was pleased with what I saw. Even number 2 is starting to sing out to me.

So why do I feel listless, directionless, rudderless? I was awake for a long time last night, thinking about all the things I desperately wanted to achieve, feeling like I was being left behind, floundering in the wake of so many others who have been secretly beavering away whilst my back is turned. Have I bitten off mouthfuls from too many pies? I felt like I was completely out on a limb...

---[I've decided to cut the text here. I certainly don't want to read through it again, so I'm sure no-one else who stumbles in here will want to]---

There is just me, in a boatful of ideas, in the middle of a vast, flat sea. The way things stand, no-one will see any of my latest masterpieces, no matter how loud I shout about them.

Of course all this is just a metaphorical realisation that maybe I have too many things on the boil at one time: 2 DJ nights; 1 music Blog; these paintings and this blog; a band on hiaitus, which I’m trying to keep ticking over; a load of songs, which don’t fit that band, and which just keep coming; and a part-time job making jigsaws, which I, thankfully, only need to think about when I’m actually doing it. And then I have to try and promote all these things to get other people to listen and take an interest. I also have a wife who I miss, and who misses me, when I’m only home for 3-and-a-half days of the week.

I think it’s time I went home and had a rest, and worked out where I’m going…

19 August 2009

There is painting to be done

My tea has gone cold, whilst I painted an extra layer of white over top-secret painting number 2. This one needs to be finished in a couple of weeks, and there’s a fair way to go before I’m happy to let it go.

I woke up this morning with an urgent feeling that I had to try and find something on Ebay. After breakfast I logged on, but just could not remember what it was I was looking for. An hour went by, checking my email, and myspace and blablahblah. But I still couldn’t remember. Then I came to my senses and switched the bloody thing off. There is painting to be done.

I just took a big leap forward into purple neon territory – cup of tea to celebrate? Why not?

How long have I just sat here thinning out the neon numbers? Was it the correct course of action? I cannot tell. Is there a right and wrong way to do this? Probably not, but certain actions have either pleasing or unpleasing results. I hope when I come back after lunch I am pleased with what I see on the easel…

And so after lunch the artist returned, and he saw that it was good. He picked up a clean brush, hastily mixed a pale blue-ish violet and brushed it lightly, blending the immediate bright glow of the numbers out into the deeper shades of cobalt violet. He took the canvas out into the daylight, hung it on a convenient hook, noticed a couple of tiny blemishes to erase, which he duly fixed, and his werk on this painting was done for the day.

What next? Number 3. Just as soon as I get this rogue black paint off my hands. I know it’s to be expected that I’ll get paint on my hands, but I have no idea where I picked it up, which suggests there is some wet paint on a surface somewhere in close proximity.

It gets hotter in here by the minute, and it’s becoming unbearable – feels like my head is shrinking and squeezing my brain. Could be time to do some werk on ‘SMILE’ outside. It just needs a little bit of attention, you see.

What followed was a stop-start afternoon of al fresco painting, with a pleasant intermission of coffee and blackberry picking. ‘SMILE’ went wrong for a while, but I think I’ve pulled it back again.

And now it is just about time to finish for the evening.

12 August 2009

trifling little touches

It only 10.18 in the morning. It feels like late afternoon. I have no energy. But I must press on and werk.

I must confess I took a break and wallowed in an hour of procrastination on the internet. It wasn’t meant to happen like that, but now I will never get those precious minutes back. I do feel rested and a bit more sprightly now though, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

‘…SMILE’ – I think it has maybe reached a stage of completion. How do I know? I’m almost happy and comfortable with it. I have propped it up back inside the house where I will gaze at it and try to catch it out tonight. If it passes the test then I will stop werk on it.

I have also put the final touches to top-secret painting number 1. Good job too, it will need to be gift-wrapped and handed over this Saturday. It is signed now, so that’s that!

Aside from these trifling little touches I have done fuck all this morning. I reckon on taking some lunch and then I’ll werk my little socks off this afternoon.

So here we are, back in the crawl-space. I’ve been bashing away at number 3, thinking I might be able to get it near-finished today. No such luck. There is a problem character that refuses to come white, and just picks up grubbiness every time I add some pigment near it.

Number 2 is up on the easel now. First I over-painted the white neon characters; then some Permanent Magenta mixed with Titanium White for the intense, immediate glow around the characters. Next I need to bring in more darkness from the black void in which it hangs. And then some of the delicious Cobalt Violet that reminds me always of Dairy Milk.

This is the bit where I call it a day. I’ve got precious little done in the last half-hour, and it doesn’t seem likely I’ll embark on anything if I hang around.
Laters W.P. x

6 August 2009

I flit from one to the next like a butterfly

Yes! It is the return of the Thursday Painter. The more it happens, the less surprise you seem to show. Surely it has not become such a regular occurrence that you don’t feel even a slight frisson of excitement at the prospect of spending another day here?

It must be bad: I’m spewing out an internal dialogue on the screen, even though I may well be the only person who ever reads it.

Instead I should be slapping another layer of paint on canvas. In fact this is what I have been doing prior to this rambling piece of prose. I am werking on top-secret painting number 2. Allow me to introduce number 2: A small canvas, depicting a commemorative date sometime in the near future, which will soon shimmer with a faux purple neon glow.

I could do with having SPQR here to take inspiration and reference from. But SPQR has flown the nest, and now resides with its new family (who were even more appreciative of it than I could have even hoped).

Number 2 has had another layer of purple glow administered. While it is wet I will layer on some more black for intensity, then it will be put aside to dry,

And now it is time to move outside for some ‘…SMILE’ action…

I don’t want to jump the gun or shoot my load, or whatever other metaphor you care to insert there, but I think that my monolithic ‘I THINK OF YOU AND I SMILE’ painting may be nearing a state of completion. I have taken it back inside to clutter up the house and block out the light in the lounge. (Sorry dear mother that you have to return from Paris this evening to find a disorganised gallery of my almost finished paintings.)

It is hot in here again: stifling, still, lethargic. Must press on. Having spent all my Wednesday Painting session focussed on one canvas, today I flit from one to the next like a butterfly: Number 2 – Number 3 – Smile – Number 1 – Rock face.

Yes the pink neon in the crack of the rock face needs some attention. If you remember last time I made the decision to push it deeper, well I did and now the neon nucleus needs brightening up.

The computer protests and crashes again. I protest and crash again. It really is heavy in here today. Looks like it’s just rained outside, but that’s no good to me. And it’s drying up already. And I’m packing up and going home.

5 August 2009

dead-ends and wrong-turns

Good Afternoon. I return to the loft after lunch and recommence werk on top-secret painting number 1. It has been the primary object of my attentions all morning. I have taken umpteen forms of media to its surface, and taken many wrong turns. This time next week it will need to be finished, so it’s a relief that it looks to be nearing a stage of readiness for the outside world.

I took the plunge and opted for a more contrast-y finish, rather than the subtle lighter tones I had originally envisaged. Though it’s certainly not as stark and full-on as the black neon paintings I’ve made. I wanted the background to be almost like a stone slab or tile, with a shimmering, serene white neon legend set against it. After much mess and persevering , I am almost pleased with it.

With all this werk and mess, the actual numbers have grown grubby and off-white. A fresh coat of titanium white should set them right. Time to move it inside, so I can sit and ponder it this evening.

5.00pm: I’ve just propped top-secret painting number 3 on the easel, I need to go through the same steps as I did with number 1 this morning. Only without all the dead-ends and wrong-turns. I have a bit longer to finish this one, plus I made quite a lot of headway trying out ideas on it last week.

It’s been like a sauna in here all afternoon, and it’s really starting to get to me. Could be time to call it a day. Don’t worry though I’ll be back tomorrow for more fun and hair-pulling.

30 July 2009

Nearly came a cropper

The time is 4.38pm: I’ve been beavering away all morning and into the afternoon. Much of it spent on one of those top-secret paintings, trying to knock it into shape. During my time away from it, I had aninkling that I could try some chalk for a more malleable glow, and so I tentatively set to werk. It seems to work quite well.

As I took a break and sat pondering what next, it struck me: More contrast. I set to dry-brushing some black oil paint in from the edges. It has certainly made the figures glow. I’m not quite happy with it, but a big step has been taken. My only worry is that this will lead to me having to darken the whole of the background of ‘…SMILE’. Eek!

I took a stick of white chalk to the areas around ‘I THINK’ at first it looked like I’d made a grave mistake. I hoisted the canvas down the hatch, and propped it up outside. Hmmm, not quite how I’d hoped, but a bit of light brushing smoothed everything out. Can’t look back now I thought and I applied the same technique to the rest of the words. It made a pleasant change werking outside in the daylight.

Earlier today I nearly came a cropper coming up the ladder with too many things in my hands. “Idiot”, I thought, and made a note not to try that again.

Back on that top-secret one that is proving a tricky one to pin down and bring in to line. I feel like every thing I try just makes me even more unsure, and I just can’t see how to make it right.