Lyrical Painting – Content with Feeling – Experiments with texture,colour,markmaking with paint in two recent paintings -Still loving Claude Venard

August 11, 2012

Feeling Foremost…

Just stumbled across this:

http://leftbankartblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/the-color-picture-now-feeling-foremost.html

All hearty.

Thinking of feeling…

Feeling nostalgic, looking through my website blog from around a year and a half ago I found this:

“I’m busy priming boards at the moment and stepping out with a little painting on a slightly bigger scale. Experimenting with colours generally and enjoying the freedom of not working so much with depicting recognisable objects. It’s a necessary phase, and enables me to increase my sensitivity to paint which is important. If I want a picture which looks like whatever, I can always work on a photographic image for a few hours. Though I inwardly stress a little about if I will lose my skill with drawing, (my sketchbook has more text and paint in it than drawing) I feel I have to go in this direction for a while…
The sad thing is, maybe, that this kind of painting I am embarking on may not be thought of as being as clever as something which folk (who cannot draw) esteem? A person who cannot draw (I mean, duplicate and copy something exactly, not in the wider sense of drawing) will always be impressed by a painting which looks very close to the reality they see in their everyday life. And how common the mistake is, to see an artist’s work and think that because they have not chosen a strictly representational route, that they do not possess the skill to produce such an image? Yet for me, delighting in the beauty of the paint I see all around me, in the billions of possibilities, (by me,so far unexplored), wanting to discover, experiment, and create new images which don’t have to stick to external reality with superglue, but rather hover, at various distances in the area between the imagination and the natural world…Does it seem right to bother about this? It is far more important for me to develop my skill with paint…craftsmanship…practical skill…knowledge, and establish a good foundation in working with the material I have chosen to concentrate on, than to bother about how accessible this might be to other people. Once I have allowed myself the freedom to explore, I can then return if I wish to using what I have learnt in a more familiar dialect!”

Or maybe not return? I think now, I may have changed my view, for this abstraction is not apart from nature, it is simply a sharing in the processes of creation. But people do like to look at objects.  So do I sometimes.  But I love the freedom to do whatever, regardless.  And the subjects do tend to push through by the end of the painting, emotive and buried, as they are at first.  They want a body, a material, a place in the outside world.  It maybe is just a matter of order.  I can start to paint with no conscious thought of a subject, but I always arrive at one by the end of the painting.  Or I could start knowing, and have more drawn out at the start.  I plan to do some of that next, and see how it feels.

I’m feeling rather happy with the freedom of starting from nothing though, and increasingly more content to surrender the need to depict from the outset of a painting, in a pre determined way.   I like the uncertainty, and its nice to get a surprise at the end of it.   I also recognise drawing and painting are quite different practices, and it is quite good to develop them apart for a while.  No harm done I don’t think.   Looking at the paintings of Claude Venard (1913-1999) has been immensely helpful to me because I can see that there is plenty of potential for the direction I am going in right now, and also I don’t need to be “clever” about my painting, intellectually.  If a painting is good, it can stand on its own two feet (or four corners) and instead of needing to explain itself to its viewer, it will be simply seen.  Anything else is interesting, maybe, might help make a sale (or not) might provide some food for thought, but however, is an added bonus, and nothing more than that.  If the painting has to clutch onto words around it to work, then something is not right.

What I do value, and wish I had more of, is constructive critique and I was so grateful recently to have a dear painter friend view my Alliance Healthcare work and offer her insights and observations, ALL without fail, were helpful and incisive in a way which helped me over a few hurdles I was encountering.   The rather Claude Venard style painting below (I mean, because of the chunky areas of paint) I am happy with right now, but there is a need for linear elements to come into such a piece of painting to increase the interest.  I want to leave this one as it is, because I think for this one, its state is right for it, but looking at “Trees with Sacre Coeur in the Distance” oil on canvas by Claude Venard I rather like the way that he has used lines to build the area in the top left corner and I love his post cubist composition which however holds a very interesting and strong tension between flatness and form, definition and lack of clarity.

claude venard french painting,trees with sacre coeur in the distance detail colourist post cubist composition expressionist painting,landscape buildings trees subject

Making a big impact, and adding a comforting reassurance to me in terms of my own painting direction, the paintings of Claude Venard are an inspiration. Claude Venard, Matisse, Ivon Hitchens and Turner, all influential.

claude venard french painting,trees with sacre coeur in the distance detail colourist post cubist composition expressionist painting,landscape buildings trees subject

Claude Venard Painting Trees with Sacre Coeur in the Distance

What seems to be happening now in some of the Allied Healthcare paintings I am still working on,  is that FORM is emerging as a natural urge, even though I like working on one plane there seems to be something which pushes against this for me.  I see the painting process very much like sculpture and maybe it is this feeling which tends to bend the singular plane into an illusion of three-dimensional space.  I’ve taken a couple of paintings too far in this directon, and had to flatten them and block them down.  Cylinders and cubes have appeared, but I don’t like them just appearing with no job to do!  I think if I am going to have more form in the work I would prefer it to relate to objects rather than just appear! Maybe next after this Alliance Healthcare project I will indulge myself in some paintings with a more definate starting point and clearly defined subject matter and see if what I have been doing lately has proved to be useful for that approach.

More paintings are just reaching that point where they are resolved, or certainly resolved enough to be able to show them.  However, I don’t line working to a deadline, not with this type of painting work, because I don’t know the target I am trying to hit until very near the end, and, if the end is actually coming towards you, rather than you towards it, there is a certain pressure.  In a painting I think the way forward must always come from your centre and outward, yes, with limitations and constraints, maybe from subject matter or a  known idea, and subject to constant reappraisal.  There needs to be willingness to be flexible, but TIME is just deathly.

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Above some details from some of the Alliance Healthcare paintings.  “Sorrow for Myself”  “Deluge” and “Cove” (Though I have just added a very important mark to “Cove” so it looks a little more resolved right now).

I love taking these images of the paintings after painting as  looking through the camera lens is an excellent way of isolating areas of a painting and looking at the relationships between different marks, colours and textures.

Abstract Acrylic Painting/Markmaking with Colour.  Instinctive intuitive process led painting, psychotherapy and art,psychotherapy and painting, British Contemporary female artist painter Jenny Meehan

“Deluge/House Flood”  Acrylic painting.  It was cathartic, but not in a “let it rip” kind of way, because I work very firmly within formal considerations as well as following my own instincts with respect to what I should paint next.  It started with no obvious subject matter but through the painting process, water came in and what for me is a house form.  I related this to a past dream referring back to my childhood home environment, hence the title.

The other paintings in the slide show are “Sorrow for Myself” (and Cove I will post later once I have retaken a full size image with the additional mark. ) “Sorrow for Myself” ended up showing a figure watching broken pieces being pulled downstream by a small stream of water.  More water!  More rocks!  You cannot see the textures too well, or the pearlescent quality of the stream.  Also the way that the cobalt blue (always resonates of the spirit, for me)  is changed in intensity, not by a change of shade, but by the application of varnish.  The pigment load was so high because I made my own paint,  (for that part of the painting) and this is very, very useful.  I focused on texture and marks mainly, wanting to explore the relationships between texture, mark and emotion.  The setting sun colours have been used in past work, I realise.  The landscape is quite bright, though the figure subdued.  The iron oxide red, I love.  There is bleeding, there is pain. But also water flowing (many glass beads used here, with the white).  Interested, as I am, in psychoanalytical theory I think there is some emotional freezing going on, and maybe this is something I like in using the glass beads, because they are very ice like, and yet, beautiful too.  So reflective and, as I found out with the black area of “The Upper Room” it is very possible for them to convey warmth too, not only coldness.  I hope I haven’t ruined my painting too much by writing about it, however, it is helpful to be able to look at it in this analytical way, because there is something interesting going on.

sorrow for myself, abstract colour markmaking painting, human figure, depression, grief,trauma, loss,psychotherapy and art,jenny meehan fine and applied art,british contemporary abstract fine painting,subconscious subject matter,emotional release,lyrical abstraction,lyrical markmaking,instinctive intuitive process led painting,

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