15 July 2009

not time for hunny

I am on a pretty tight schedule with these top-secret paintings, so I have spent the entire morning werking with acrylic, diligently painting over the numerals, layer upon layer, over and over, again and again. I have lost count of the number of passes, somewhere around 7 or 8.

The joy of acrylic is that it dries so quickly. I have a special makeshift palette for acrylic paint (another tool of the artist):

[Sadly it is not yet time for hunny.]

I’d like to say that I never signed up for this obsessive, fine detail werk when I decided again to play the role of “the artist”. However, such behaviour remains with me since those art school days, when I would take a simple, usually repetitive, idea to fanatical lengths. Mostly I liked the idea of systems and the production-line ethic…

If only I had the patience and temperament to fulfil these intense lines of werk. Truth is I can be a testy little bugger and every so often I have to pull away and take a deep breath before I scream or my hand has a spasm and draws a violent, unhinged line across all that hard werk. Right now is one of those times. STEP AWAY FROM THE CANVAS. As soon as my hands are steady again I’ll turn back and continue.

Only now I’ve lost track of which numeral I had got to. The problem with acrylic is that it dries so quickly… Looks like I might as well werk from the start on this one.

It seems to happen when I get to the fourth character: I have a tendency to hold my breath whilst I werk, and it reaches a crux point, where I have to turn away, exhale and give my poor, fidgety eyes a break. Oh woe is me: the tortured artist.

ENOUGH. I paint over that number nine for the last time.

We’ve moved onto a layer of oil paint: Titanium white with a hint of lemon yellow. This is quickly smudged outwards to create the subtlest of glows. It is the first step of many steps on the third stage of the painting. (stage 1: creating a ground to werk on; stage 2: filling in and building up the numbers; stage 3: making it glow.) We have a long way to go, and not much time.

5.40pm. Time for a little pick me up: My slapdash version of a Pastis - a splash of Anis in a plastic cup of water – it tastes pretty good considering.

8.12pm. Yes I’m still here. Took half an hour break around 6pm, drank coffee, came back ready for more werk. Have been buzzed by a wasp and seen the biggest spider. Got to get on, there’s painting to be done.

8.30pm. I think we can call it a day now, a proper days werk under my belt.
[For the record, I started at 10am.]

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