In July
07 Oct 21 by justatest
It´s been ages since I´ve begun a new painting. All the new stuff I´ve been doing over the last couple of years have been sculpture and drawing. Any painting activity has been working on or finishing already ongoing canvases. So I´ve stretched a new canvas, glued and gessoed, it´s dry now and ready to go.
This practice of allowing painting almost become a secondary activity I´d like to end. It must be remembered that canvases are a lot easier to store than bulky sculptures, and if I´m ever to sell anything again in my life, it´ll more than likely be a small painting.

completed [oil on canvas, w:91cm x h:86cm]

What makes this a finished painting? I´m not sure.. it seems to arrive at a point where it´s not posing any more questions. So I let it sit around for a few weeks and after that it still looked to me to have settled.

Decorative stage

after the decorative stage

The 6 stages of a painting I find roughly follow this sequence: 1. mapping, 2. explorative, 3.decorative, 4. challenge, 5. struggle, 6. resolution.
The first three move along quickly with little or no meaning, then out of the blue the thing seems to take on a life of it´s own and decides to put me through my paces as if to say so this guy thinks he´s an artist eh?... okay let´s see if we can bring that presumption to an end and generally one hell of a bitter, long drawn out battle ensues.

This one has ended the decorative stage and begins to take on a more serious demeanor with just the smallest spark of life within. It´s important now that I hold my nerve and meet the challenge being laid down. It´s so easy to let it slip at this point and then find myself chasing my tail for ages (sometimes years) afterward until I somehow succeed in introducing rigour back into the process.

Start to explore

painting [In July] early exploration work

A feel for dimension

painting [In July] early mapping out the surface

I made a mess of the stretcher frame as the wood was too light and as I stretched the canvas the sides ended up concave instead of straight, and it got worse as the glue dried and tightened the fabric. Anything I tried to lessen the effect just made things worse, so I just left it at that. The gesso ground is well made however and has a lovely smooth creamy consistency, and overall the surface has a pleasing spring to it. I notice that I´m all about the physicality of this object and am talking about it as if it were almost a sculpture. In a way, that is how I view the canvases. Years ago, I used to deliberately rip well-made canvases to reveal the wood of the stretcher, as in this example [LINK] (Heading South).