24 August 2012

where have you been Wednesday Painter?

Owing to various events and occurrences I've not been able to get to the studio over the past few weeks, and this looks likely to continue for a bit longer...

What I did find some time for was to photograph 3 canvases which have been selected for a forthcoming exhibition in Macclesfield (more on the exhibition here).

25 July 2012

the taste of solvents

Greetings dear readers, today is the hottest day of the year so far (now that mister sun has finally showed his face he really does mean business).  The heat in the loft has been rising and has now become almost unbearable - a still, stifling HOT heat.

I was out and painting with great purpose this morning continuing progress with the '...RUGS&...' canvas: adding more rich, bright red, deep crimson and blackness, and daubing some verdant green into the background. Another step on the long road to completion.

Now that I've cleared the deck of 2 paintings, I feel I can crack on with some of those canvases that have lain around neglected for the past couple of months.  Does anyone remember this behemoth seascape I sketched out? It's up on the wall and is getting some much needed attention. It's good to have something new to sink my teeth into.

...And so, on the hottest day of the year, I sat in my sweat-box of a loft with absolutely no ventilation and decided to do something quite rash. This, ladies and gentlemen is how to bugger up a painting in one quick and easy lesson.

And in a bid to rectify it, I concluded the only course of action would be to pour half a bottle of white spirit down it and scrub it all off. I spent the rest of the sweltering afternoon with a sweaty mask clamped over my face to stop me getting drunk on the fumes, and giving myself cross eyes painting all the tiny flowers back in.

It utterly reeks in there and it made my head swim as soon as I took that mask off. Out in the still, slightly fresher air, the taste of solvents lingers on the tip of my tongue.

18 July 2012

the keen eye of the Wednesday Painter

I had a couple of hours' paid work to fulfil this morning, but with this out of the way I set upon my first task: re-taking those photographs I took last week.  The sky overhead is a blanket of silvery grey, so the light was right for some photos.

I am pleased to report that 'Home Sweet Home' still meets with my satisfaction, which gives me a number of choices of which canvas to werk on today.  I've opted for the '...RUGS&...' deep red neon painting, which is in its early stages and will give me something to set my mind to. Just as soon as I have eaten lunch.

It is 2pm. Let the painting commence!

3 hours later, and to the untrained eye not much has changed. But to the keen eye of the Wednesday Painter the last traces of the original pencil sketch have been more or less covered over.

And now I must go, only 3 hours painting is better then 0 hours painting. And I will fit in a much longer session next week.

11 July 2012

a spring in my step

I spent much of this morning cursing the sunshine for visiting on the one day of this grey, wet and dreary summer on which I had decided to take some photographs. In the rare moments when a cloud drifted overhead I snapped off a few shots with varying degrees of success.

The photographs are for a batch of slides I plan to make in preparation for some new non-neon paintings.

Job more or less done, I returned to add (what will hopefully be) the finishing touches to 'Home Sweet Home': just a little extra deep red glow to counter the diminishing green effervescence and a lick of purest white to brighten key points to both colours of neon tube, and I think I am just about happy with it.

I walk with a spring in my step for the rest of the day and toil away at the big Le Corbusier canvas, darkening all the little windows and alcoves with some dirty, inky water, and wondering how I should go about speeding up and finishing construction werk.

5 July 2012

existential ponderings

I've swapped shifts this week with the Thursday Painter.  The Thursday Painter is a man of few words. He keeps a blog somewhere in a parallel cyberspace, and his confessions usually amount to very little. It would be nice to be able leave him to carry on with my paintings the day after I have done my Wednesday Painting shift, but every time I return a week later I see very little sign of progress. Sometimes I wonder if he's taking my werk a step backwards, or undoing all the hard graft I have achieved the day before...

Sometimes I wonder if it is healthy to mull all this over inside my head and then spill it out into this weekly journal. But I tell myself that it gives me an aim each week and some kind of benchmark of progress with my creative endeavours, so I continue.

I set out today to bring 'Home Sweet Home' a big step towards completion.  The green neon rendering is still not to my satisfaction.  All morning I was there, painting away, knocking back the extended glow and bringing in the darkness. I werked on every area of the green bordering and finished for lunch.

On my return I realise that all my werk has been in vain. I scrub out the morning's travails...

This time I'll get it right, I tell myself.

Hours later, I leave more or less satisfied, and hoping this will still be the case when I return next Wednesday.

27 June 2012

the challenge

I woke up this morning and I told myself "I will finish the morse code canvas today".  This is my intention, and this is my challenge.  I have a deadline to submit the painting for a competition this Sunday.

I begin in the loft, but very soon move the canvas outside, propped up on paint tins again.  I flood the blackness with Phthalo blue straight from the tube, then lighten the glow where it should bounce back off the craggy crevice, using a soft brush to gently blend.  I touch up the very edges of the crack with white to show the light glinting back off the rock. I dry brush a mid-to-light blue spilling out of the crack and leaking out onto the vertical rock surface. I take it too far on the top of the crack.  I curse myself and take a break.

By the afternoon, threatened by rain, I have moved inside to the spare bedroom with the canvas stood on a box. I am in crisis. I have taken photos and looked at them on a computer to get a slightly different perspective. I find myself thinking I am not good enough to paint, that I should just give up. None of that thrill that I get when things are going well and the neon is singing to me. No, none of that. I sit and stare. I feel feverish with nervous energy, knowing that I need to get this finished today, and to my satisfaction.  I drink a beer. Quickly... A decision: I turn the canvas upside down and knock back some of the over-exaggerated spilling glow with oil paint, charcoal, indian ink and water. Flip it back round and take another photo. It goes on like this until I feel I can do no more. Am I happy with it? I look back at the tiny dots and dashes of light: how about re-instating those little flares of light from each of them?

At some time just around 5pm I down tools. I cannot tell if it is good, but I need to take photos before the light goes. Maybe when I look at them tomorrow I will be happy with what I see, but for now I feel empty and just a little bereft.  It has been a long day, and I leave the morse code canvas which shall henceforth be known as Cry For Help 2.

20 June 2012

Be brave Wednesday Painter

A short day, werking on the blue morse code canvas. It has taken me this long to realise the neon dots and dashes would benefit from being placed deeper in the dark recess.  Essentially this will involve re-rendering the blue neon glow from the centre out.  This is usually a long job, but I need to get it done today, as I'm planning to have this painting finished by the end of next week's session.

Time to take some risks and not be so precious over months of werk. Be brave Wednesday Painter, be brave...

I have found myself increasingly resorting to small sable brushes for the fine detail brushwerk around the pin-points of light. I hold my breath and try to steady my hand as I close in to make my mark. I find it too intense to werk for more than a few minutes at a time. I think I might scream.

I certainly prefer the broader, freer brush strokes I can make as the glow spreads out from the nucleus.

I leave it for lunch and some internet procrastination.

By around 3pm I am running short of time. I clean my brushes and hang the painting inside where it will get some light and hopefully be dry enough to werk on next week, when I plan to tackle the glow around the edges of the rock-face and hopefully get the bloody thing finished.

13 June 2012


Out in the studio and raring to go.  I cracked straight on with the blue 'morse code' painting, determined to get the glow along the edges looking better, and to get the blackness looking deeper and darker.  I ended up with it propped up on two paint tins against the garage door - giving me the opportunity to get some much needed distance from the canvas.

Things were going well and after adding a little glint of light to each of the dots and dashes, I retired up to the loft to clean my brushes. 

And then THUD! I dropped everything and rushed down the ladder to find the canvas face down in the dust and dirt.

A minor clean up operation ensued, removing specks of dust and grit from the fresh paint - this isn't the first time this has happened, so you would think I would have already learned my lesson.  But no, I curse myself and do my best to clean up what had been a pristine coating of paint.  The painting is now safely on the wall in the house, hopefully away from any more dust and crud...

After lunch I gave my mind a bit of a wander with some Sub/conscious drawings. The result: more animals, clowns and speed demons spilling from my brain.

I need a change from painting neon, and with just an hour or so before I head home, I render the balconies on the Le Corbusier canvas in jolly shades of blue and yellow, as they are on the actual building.

7 June 2012

hasty actions

I am a day late to the studio at her majesty's behest. Though even then I didn't take the full 2 days off to join in the Jubilee festivities/banalities. In fact I pretty much avoided it all as best I could.

To break myself back in this Thursday morning, I set to making another batch of 'Sub/conscious drawings'. The results left me baffled and bemused, and one particular drawing made me laugh out loud. Can you guess which one?

And now for my next trick!  The blue 'morse code' is taken in hand and given some care and attention.  I'm yearning to get this one finished in the next few weeks, so I'm in the mood to try certain hasty actions which will hopefully pay off.  Today I smothered the darker areas of glow in Phthalo blue, and knocked back some areas where the light catches on the craggy rock-face.

Don't want to go too far, so I leave it there. And move on to the '...RUGS&...' canvas, to which I lay down a pale pink border to the letters and blend it inside and out.  Mainly to rid it of any leftover and unwanted pencil marks from the initial sketch. Still time after this to block in a quick layer of deep and luxurious crimson red.

I leave a tired and satisfied Wednesday-cum-Thursday Painter.

30 May 2012

The painter's progress

Today I have been a good Wednesday Painter and werked all the way through until 5.30pm, and didn't go on the computer once.

I headed for the garret with a real sense of purpose this morning, and set about tackling the old 'rock face/blue morse code' canvas, concentrating on the edges of the crack and knocking back the leaking blue glow. I threw many things at it including chalk, charcoal, ink, oil paint, and dirty water, with fingers, knuckles, household paint brushes, artists' paint brushes, and even a toothbrush.

After lunch, I returned to deal with 'Home Sweet Home', blackening the background void and lessening the green glow, then allowing the deeper, darker reds to spread outwards.  I also touched up that troublesome area betwixt the orange neon heart and the ends of the green neon borders.

NEXT! While I still had time, I brought out the '&RUGS' canvas and swiped some lamp black around the edges of the red glow, then blended it in with various shades of luscious Crimson and Red.

Today was a good day, and the painter's progress continues.

23 May 2012

let out a scream/let off steam

Last week I went to Paris to see a neon exhibition, and so I did not partake in any Wednesday Painting. So it follows that I was itching to get back to the studio this morning.

It is now 5.26pm and since 9.30 this morning I have been mostly painting the '...RUGS&...' canvas, with regular breaks to let out a scream/let off steam when the intricate brushwerk all got too much.

I am pleased to report spring has finally arrived, or maybe we have just skipped straight to summer.  On Monday I was still working in thermal underwear, today it has been hot and humid, and I'm almost expecting a storm to hit as I attempt to cycle to the station as I make my way homewards.

As a distraction from that intense brushwerk, I trundled down the shed and completed three 'Sub/conscious' drawings. I am very often amused and baffled as to where such imagery comes from, but then I conclude that it's all somewhere up there inside my head just waiting to spill out.  This is what spilled out today.

10 May 2012

Calling Cards

My two regular readers (me and my mother), may remember a post back in June 2010 relating how, on a trip to Japan, I had begun to leave my business cards in various cities in the hope they would be found by unsuspecting members of the public.

I have continued this project intermittently since then, and most recently deposited cards at sites throughout Marseille.

You can read more about the ongoing project on my new website.

2 May 2012

systematic painting & sub/conscious drawing

I have been away, did you miss me? No? Well I certainly missed my Wednesday Painting sessions, but I did get in a bit of brushwerk whilst at home, finishing a neon date painting to commemorate the wedding of an old friend [see here].

So, what have I been up to today? I began with some 'Sub/conscious' drawing in the shed. I managed 6 in all, using a dipping pen and indian ink - this, it seems, is what lurks in the darker depths of my mind today:

Once I sat down in the studio, I picked up werk on the '...RUGS...' painting. During a break I had to rescue a bird from the evil family cat. The poor thing was terrified, so I took it somewhere quiet in the hope it would regain it's strength and survive. The cat has been locked in ever since.

UPDATE: The bird was not where I left it, and a spooked bird flew off as I approached, so hopefully it is okay.

Back to the shed to add a splash of colour to a few of the drawings...

And then on with the '...RUGS...' canvas: It's funny to me how systematic the early stages of these neon paintings can be - painterly but systematic, adding a layer at a time across the whole image, then back to the first letter for the next round. Soon I will have the groundwerk done though and I can get a bit more free and gestural with the brush.

13 April 2012

Monday, Thursday, Friday Painting

[FRIDAY 13 APRIL 2012]
Bit of a mixed up/muddled up/shook up week (thank you bank holiday Monday!).

So no painting on Wednesday, but I did paint a bit on Monday at home, Thursday morning at the studio, and today at home again, so surely must have put in something towards the requisite hours.  Who's counting? Me. And me only.

At the studio I applied another layer to the new canvas:

Whilst at home I made progress with a secret painting that will be gifted to an old friend.

4 April 2012

Scrawlings and Rugs

It all started so well: sketching out a new neon design on a new canvas and then a break to do some email/internet errands. I moved some canvases back out to the studio and finished off a lo-fi scrawling I made yesterday with a touch of watercolour.

[not sure where it came from, but at some point I was possibly thinking of Numan, hence "Gary". Adding the shock of bleached-blonde hair seemed like the obvious final step. There will be more lo-fi subconscious/conscious drawings in the near future]

And now?  Now I am hungry for my lunch and I must eat before I get on with the afternoon shift.  But I've been stuck at this computer screen for the past hour or so, doing this and that and the other.  ENOUGH!

I ate some soup.

It was not Campbell's Condensed though.

Afternoon: My first proper bit of painting consisted of touching up the "rock-face" where the blue glow is leaking out of the dark chasm.  I didn't do much, and I will continue next time.

Instead of returning to all those old, half-finished canvases, I stuck the fresh new one on the easel and commenced painting in around the words which will be depicted as deep-red neon. As you can see I am possibly thinking about jacking all this painting in and opening a carpet shop.

28 March 2012

trials and tribulations

Another glorious spring day, and I've put off my trip to the studio long enough. I've not been slacking off though. No, not me, I have a new canvas stretched and triple-primed.

Somehow I have managed to make it through to lunch with very little of your actual painting being done.  Oh dear me.

For the afternoon session I re-visit 'Home Sweet Home'. And I stay there for the remainder of the day, knocking back the green glow, drawing in the darkness, violently blending, smoothing out, touching up...

And now? Now I am thoroughly sick of the sight of that canvas and I hang it on the wall and I hope that come next week, and with a little distance, it will look better.  Oh the trials and tribulations of a struggling artist!

Apologies for the slight rant. I am now drinking warm, calming tea to help me back to werk.

Not much else to report today, I leave the studio feeling a bit ragged and spent, but with very little sense of satisfaction.

21 March 2012

the residue of success

A beautiful, early spring day.  And what better way to spend it than holed up in a window-less loft space!

I began the day with a short stint of paid work, and then the time was all mine.

First, some email and internet errands and posts.
Second, I mounted a couple of slides for a new secret date painting.
Third, I marked out the date in a swish Art Deco font.
Fourth, I went back on the computer.
Fifth, I ate lunch.
And finally I was ready to paint.

The continuing saga of 'Home Sweet Home'.
I am pleased to report that having sat and gazed upon it at leisure during the past 2 evenings, it isn't nearly as bad as I believed last week.  Still needs a bit more werk in a couple of the green neon areas though, so I tackle these and leave it at that. I will let it rest until next week, or maybe the week after.

And so, onto my next job: that blue 'morse code', breaching the edge of the faux rock-face with illuminating blue glow.  I think we're getting there.

Flushed with the residue of success, I go and have a cup of tea, and put the slab of rock-face aside to dry. And when I return it is to tackle another, almost finished, canvas.  I'm still learning when it comes to this white neon, but someday soon I will finish this white 'Path of Least Resistance'.

And that is me pretty much done for the day.  See you next week.

16 March 2012

Saatchi Online Abstract Showdown

I have entered one of my neon ‘Drip’ paintings in the Saatchi Online Abstract Showdown competition
If you are able to take a moment to click on the link and vote, that would be hugely appreciated. And please do pass on to anyone else who you think may be interested too. Thanks!
Round 1 Voting started 12 noon yesterday (15th March) and runs until Tuesday 27th March
VOTE HERE >>> www.saatchionline.com/showdown/vote/showdown/10/artist/29963

Exhibition: SPASKI - live + gallery opening

I have a painting in an exhibition this Saturday 17th March, 7-10pm at
The Grey Area, 31 Queens Rd, Brighton, BN1 3XA
Entry is free and there will be performance from resident artist SPASKI + art and more
more info >>> HERE!

14 March 2012

still plugging away

Curse you internet! I came here to run a couple of cyber-errands and four hours later, I am still here.

I shall partake of some lunch and drag my skinny ass outside to do some painting, like what I am supposed to be doing on a Wednesday.

So, I report back: about 3 hours of painting undertaken. Still plugging away at 'Home Sweet Home'. Still struggling with that green neon. I make the green glow grow and blend it all in with fluid brush strokes.  I stand back and still it is not working to my satisfaction.  Even in the daylight it doesn't quite sing to me.

Next week I will probably go back and werk over what I have done today, knocking it back and letting the darkness take over again, battling to achieve equilibrium.  Always battling.

7 March 2012

the old routine

It is 11.24am.  I should be out in the studio painting.  But instead I've opted to begin today's blog.  The weather is foul: a sheet of fine drizzle driving in at a 45 degree angle.  This makes moving the 'Home Sweet Home' canvas back to the studio something of an impossibility.  I should probably re-commence werk on the blue 'morse-code' canvas.

I will stop typing and head on my way now...

A short bout of werk followed.  The rain stopped long enough to allow the transfer of the 'HSH' canvas from house to garage. Feeling a bit peckish now.  As you may have noticed I'm not quite so full of purpose today.  This is partly due to the exhibition I had in the pipeline falling through.  Probably a blessing to be honest.  So I seem to have just slipped quickly back into the old routine, and am just carrying on as before.

Thank heavens for long afternoons. Between 2.30pm and 7pm I werked hard on the blue neon 'morse-code', adding extra glow and laying the foundations for the blue glow catching the edges of the "rock face".

The canvas is removed from the studio and placed in a room, in the real world.

Still time to paint, though, so I pay close attention to the green neon bordering on 'HSH', dry brushing and spreading the glow and letting go - carefree painting, gestural strokes, loose wrists. Painting joy.

29 February 2012

Bonus day

Today, the 29th February, is a bonus day.  We don't get 'em very often, and it's tempting to have the day off, but I really must make use of my time, for there is much painting to be done...

Today I began a set of 5 smaller paintings of the 5 Noble Gases, which I intend, in fact need to have finished by the end of March.  I am in the process of arranging an exhibition which is due to start in the first week of April.  Which doesn't give me much time (or hope, based on previous performance, and the fact that I haven't actually painted neon in some of the colours).

On arrival at the studio this morning I also touched up the white 'path of least resistance'. Which looks well on the way to being fit for the outside world.

In the afternoon you find me back to werk on 'Home Sweet Home'.  Yes more werk and more paint on that canvas!  Today I pay close scrutiny to the orange/green glow cross-over and then freshen up the green neon border.

Just time to paint in the area around 'Krypton' and clean up the brushes before I pack up and I'm homeward bound.

22 February 2012

orange and green

That was not the keen-as-mustard start I was hoping for today, but in the 2 hours I have been painting I've finally taken the plunge with the orange/green neon crossover.

Prior to that I found myself procrastinating on the internet - a common symptom when I am stuck with a painting and not sure how to tackle the next phase.  During my searching I did pay another visit to the always pleasing Project Neon blog - one girl and a camera documenting the neon signs of New York city.  I can't help but have pangs of jealousy at the richness and variety of neon in that great city, and it makes me yearn for more neon in Brighton and reminds me that I really should pay Mr Fishtail Neon another visit at his studio whilst the days are still short.

Back in the loft, I tickle and tease the green-meets-orange glow, until I have to put it aside.  But what to do now?  The blue 'morse-code' painting is wet, and I really need to get some paintings finished rather than commencing werk on canvases that will take months to complete.  There is a small 'Path of Least Resistance' in white neon.  It has sat on the shelf for months and months, but finally the day has come to be taken to task.

17 February 2012

new website

I've been a bit behind with my Wednesday Painter diary entries over the past few weeks, but it's all up-to-date now.

I have just launched a new website which I plan to have as a hub/repository for my various creative pursuits, you can visit it here: www.dominicbradnum.co.uk.

It's still in the construction stage at the moment, but I'm adding things whenever I have time.

15 February 2012

bloody mess

The Wednesday Painter has a cold (must have been all that gargling dust and gravel).  But there is painting to be done and only he can do it.

Enough talking in the third person.  My head feels like cotton wool and my nose feels like it might explode with all the mucus.

In the morning I werk some more on 'Home Sweet Home'.  I can see an end in sight, so I hang it in the house and sit and gaze and ponder and scrutinise.

The heart/green neon area obviously needs more werk, but the rest is looking good to my eyes.

At lunch time I slice through the top of my thumb cutting garlic.  The blood just kept pumping out.

Recovered from my injury and all plastered up, I return to werk and give the blue neon morse code a good seeing to.

8 February 2012

gargling dust and gravel

The good news is that, with some distance, and in the daylight, 'Home Sweet Home' looks a lot better than I remember leaving it after last week's session.

This morning, following a spot of paid work and  some wood chopping, I marked out another date painting to begin werk on at home over the weekend.

I am fed and watered and the proper werk begins at 13.06.

15.33 Slow progress on the next phase of orange neon glow.  It doesn't help that it is freezing and my throat feels like I've been gargling dust and gravel...  Time for some tea.

I soldiered on and finished the day at 19.25 a reasonably satisfied Wednesday Painter.

1 February 2012

Two steps back

When I re-commenced werk on 'Home Sweet Home' this afternoon I was happy with what was on the canvas.  But then, the more I werked the worse it got.  Do 'this' to rectify it, didn't work. Do 'that' to make it better, even worse.  I almost resorted to scrubbing the whole thing out... Perhaps when I return next week it will look better than it does now.  Or perhaps I will understand where I went wrong and just a bit of remedial werk will rectify the wasted time today.

It is so bloody cold in the garret, despite having the ineffectual heater at full blast.  Slowly the chill creeps, from the feet up. I can't feel my toes and my legs are numb.  Just a quick bit of werk on that building, using up a smear of left-over Cadmium Red paint in a few of the balconies.  Done.

18 January 2012

I sat and I looked...

Such good intentions can only be broken:  I was in the studio early enough, the 'Home Sweet Home' canvas was fixed on the easel, a cup of tea was made, and I sat on the stool and I looked.

Minutes passed, and I sat and I looked. I put some music on, and I sat and I looked. I switched on the computer, and I sat and I looked. I flicked through a book about neon, and I sat and I looked. I went back through my notebook of the past few years, and I sat and I looked. I found reference photos on the old computer, and I sat and I looked again.  Then I came back to the house and made another cup of tea, and bashed away on an acoustic guitar for a bit.  By now it was 11 o'clock. An idea: PING! Back to the studio I trot.

And the werk begins...

Is it right? Is it wrong? Is there a wrong when it can be painted over at any time? Plagued with doubt I retire for lunch.

My idea was to split the orange and green glow where the heart and border meet, bringing in some darkness, rather than making a murky mess by mixing the 2 colour palettes.  I will leave it for now and werk on it a later date.

As the afternoon progresses I am werking simultaneously on the Orange neon and the green neon, I stop to pick up a brush.  Now which one should I use...

By now most of the canvas area has had a fresh coat of paint applied - There is something incredibly sensual about silky smooth brush strokes in wet, glistening paint. Even green paint.

11 January 2012

graft and contentment

I have returned after 2 months away from the studio.

I was sat at the easel by 10am, I did some blue neon painting and was back in for a break by 10.30am.  Yes, a mere 30 minutes of painting before a break.  But 30 minutes of good painting...

On my return I continued with the blue neon morse-code, it was like I hadn't been away, until the RSI kicked in in my wrist.  Alas, I am not match-fit at the moment, but happy with my work, I put the canvas aside.

'Home Sweet Home' is now propped up on the easel, and I have been searching in vain for some photographic inspiration to get the areas where green and orange neon meet looking right.  Still searching.

I eat soup and a sandwich for my lunch (like Andy Warhol) and now it's back to the studio...

Considering I'm a bit out of practice, the afternoon session was highly productive.  Little success with the green/orange neon glow diffusion, but good progress with the rest of the orange neon lettering.

I finish at 19.08 with my brushes cleaned and a general feeling of contentment at a good day's graft.