Part 5, Assignment 5 – painting and print #3

After completing the first pair of paintings in quite an abstract style, I’m intending to make a further two pairs in increasingly less abstract style, reflecting the eventual resolution of the studio environment. Today/tomorrow there are electricians, on Monday there should be a floor, and on Wednesday/Thursday there may actually be walls and a roof!

Meanwhile, this pair has begun with the repurposing of an unravelled shower sponge net.

Net glued onto A2 cartridge primed with white primer and gloss varnish.

This is digitally enhanced for contrast and, as an image rather than a physical object, I find it very appealing for its starkness and flow. This water overlay animation (using the MotionLeap app for iOS), resonates with the design of the driveway it’s representing and the occasional flooding that happens there after heavy rain.
I liked the up-lighting effect a lot and wanted to add to the mystery of it with an animation. I used one of the motion tools to make a small ripple of movement in the net at the bottom of the image. Again, I see this as a digital enhancement of a physical object whereby neither obscures the other but adds a new layer of interest.
T. white wash. Marks made with a small silicone spatula to expose ‘pixelated’ underpainting. Foliage is again triangular. There is no print from this iteration.

My driveway is designed to represent the flow of water and the bricks are black, which is why the grey/black netting with its association with water resonated. The small red car on the right has been abstracted in its exposure, the bags on the lorry suggested by blocky removal of the T. white wash, and the trees and foliage similarly revealed as patterns rather than direct representations.

I think at the moment this looks unfinished but I’m going to let it settle for a while as an attempt at avoiding populating it with unnecessary marks.

After instigating the whole image, the netting looked out of place while the imprints beneath it seemed to have merit, so I removed it.

Something is emerging now, hopefully I’ll see what it is tomorrow. I’m shadowing the I Ching lines from the first pair of paintings but extending the marks into curves in tandem with changing up from abstract to something a little less so.

January 10th. I’ve decided, after some looking at and over and around this pair, that they are a single item, one a partial reflection of the other, and so I’m treating them as a single unit, conjoined mirrored twins. I had intended using text randomly taken from a reference to Bowie’s Starman in light of the fifth anniversary of his death this week, but events in America took me in a different direction.

The text on the right is from Bowie’s1977 Heroes, repurposed to represent the probable motivation of the invading mob at the Capitol. They looked happy, elated, proud to take selfies with items stolen from the Speaker’s office and other places. They were having fun at the expense of their terrified captives. ‘Maybe we’re lying’ centre right refers to the motivator-in-chief. The text on the left is drawn from Bowie’s 2016 Blackstar and all but mirrors that on the right.

I should be able to get a better photograph of this in due course, for now the cropped images below say something about why I think this may be complete. The triangular shapes representing foliage have transferred from the previous pair of painting, as have the horizontal lines and selected text, and although this time the words are not random, they retain the thread of cosmic influence. The paint this time is thin and muted instead of thick and gritty reflecting a move from the mud of the initial ground work to the more formed materials of bricks and blocks. At present, I’m seeing the fourth pair in terms of the brand new, glossy, shiny, modern panels and roof of the conservatory which should be in place before the end of this week. This is a capsule, a modern space for exploration, and as completion of the entire assignment may coincide with the landing of NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars, I will likely draw on text used in their video describing the choice of the Jezero crater as the landing site.

But – I’m realising that my creative process for painting is much the same as that for writing in that I have only a rudimentary plan at the outset and that even this may be ditched in favour of a direction that emerges from the work itself. Having begun with a palette and abstract simplicity drawn from my impression of some Chinese art and which I had thought would be a continuous theme throughout, I found myself moving towards a different style and a different text source. Bowie’s Starman superseded astrological material paired with NASA’s revelation of a thirteenth constellation, Ophiucus, before events at the January 6th confirmatory vote count on Capitol Hill overtook it. Given my planned theme for the third pair of paintings, I’m hoping the world keeps quiet now until I’m done. Needless to say, I will not be available for conversation of any kind on February 18th!

BBC News, ‘US Congress in turmoil as violent Trump supporters breach building.’ January 7th, 2021. [online] Available at US Congress in turmoil as violent Trump supporters breach building – BBC News. Accessed 10th January 2021.

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