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.