I had some free time today, so I decided to break out a nice thick canvas and pop the lid of black Gesso. I’d used a background of white in my previous piece, so I thought it might be interesting to go with a darker base. You can see the prepared surface in the photo below, along with a host of colours.


Preparing the canvas

At this early point in the process, I didn’t have too many ideas, apart from a possible colour palette. As you can see, I’d chosen blacks, reds, whites and a nice gum green Matisse paint, which I thought might be interesting to try out. The only other idea I had was testing out some impasto techniques with a variety of palette knives.

This is all so new to me, and I’m really just experimenting with paints, colours and shapes. The whole process is actually quite draining because I find that I live with the painting until it’s finished. I stop to look at it whenever I pass; I’m adding and subtracting shapes and colours in my mind; I’m trying not to exert too much control in order not to kill the enjoyment, but at the same time I’m struggling to discover some reasonable guidelines so it’s not an absurd mess!

The afternoon ended with the canvas largely as you see below:


Blocking in shapes and colours – early in the process

I actually went back later in the evening and added some midnight blue texture paste to the left and blacked out the lined brown shape; which was a remnant of an earlier process of playing around with lines, shapes and spatial relationships.

Here’s a close-up of the heavy blue texture paint:


Adding more texture

See how thick the blue paint is? I like the way it stands up on the surface of the canvas. By applying it with a palette knife, I was able to move it around to produce a wave-like effect. To the left, I’ve also experimented with some soft charcoal scratchings. I like the idea of building a complexity of layers using other media, so I might even try pastels out.

As you can see, very early stages! I’m still trying to find my feet, but I have a much clearer idea now of where this piece might go.

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