Mixing colours…mixing colours…

Just focusing on areas of colour…thinking about it, literally weighing one colour against another and not thinking about anything else is an unexpectedly pleasurable process.  Gone for now are those little dippy dabs of colour, gone is the random mixing of colours, ad hoc, hit and miss, and the little palette (Though mine has never been small, I prefer to use a large board on a table!)

Now I am looking at flat areas (beautifully flat and singing in the light…the mineral paint surface is matt and almost comforting to look at) and as I experiment with subtle changes in tone and hue, I have the feeling that though this is not the kind of painting I expected to be doing right now…it’s more design really, however, it is doing me a lot of good.  It may not be such an emotionally charged process as most of my smaller paintings, but it’s almost ministering to me in terms of colour experience. 

The Beeck Mineral Paint smells lovely. I’m using the Beeck Beeckosil for the large colour areas of this mural.  This is a specialist paint, and I needed to consult several companies with respect to the correct preparation of substrate and the application, so many thanks to all those people who helped me in this respect.  It’s been an education in itself.  I am also looking into the mineral paint that Keim produce too, and plan to try that out on another mural in the future.  (I might well use Soldalit for the lines on this one). I’m glad I allowed for plenty of time for this project…it’s taking a lot longer to plan than I first expected.  This is mostly to do with getting the colours just right…I can’t faff about when I paint the real thing.  I also need to ensure I don’t waste paint, and I need to know exactly what I am doing in terms of proportions of pigment/toner when I mix up the colours in larger amounts for the mural.  Because the mural is the largest painting I have done so far (approx 1.5 by4 metres) I am probably being more careful than I need to be,  but better that than  the other option of careless (and expensive) mistakes. 

As I experiment with the colours on card in preparation for the mural painting “proper” I find I like this mineral paint better than the casein paint I tried out last year.  The colour does change when drying, but not so dramatically, which does help.  When this exterior mural project is done, I might well continue working with this paint on non flexible appropriately prepared substrates, as well as experimenting with using it on some stone/concrete sculpture.  Experiments started on an exterior wall in November are looking good, and it certainly helps ones confidence when embarking on using a paint one hasn’t used before to do samples and try it out first.  It takes a long time to dry, and even a few weeks to fully harden, but it does indeed harden, and it’s a fine paint.  I love it.

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The colder weather always puts me in a writing, or rather, typing mood.  It keeps my hands warm  in what is a very cold office.  First on my list today is my visit to the Guardian Private View of The Turner Prize.  It was not an emotive experience for me, and while I can enjoy the experiences I experienced last night, I am not stunned, not impressed, not motivated in any strong direction. I don’t like plastic wine glasses at all, but the wine was nice.  I had good company, and it was fun, we laughed a lot.  Shame the rest of the gallery was not open, I would have enjoyed it more.  I do like the painting of Dexter Dalwood, I like what he is doing in it, I like the collage effect, I like the size, but  I find the surface of the painting uninteresting and want the surface to offer me more…the flatness does not appeal to me.  There was some of his painting in the books at the gallery which I thought were better than some on display, and I would have liked to see them up on the wall.  I don’t think all the work on show was his strongest work, but I am sure there are many reasons (that  I am blissfully ignorant of) as to what exactly was selected.  So, in summary, I did enjoy the work of Dexter Dalwood…give me a painting any day, with a bit of a pictorial element, some visual variety, some evidence of imagination, and a nice big size, that can be hung on the wall.  That’s what I go for.  I picked up the badge with his name on.  I thought about tipping all the baskets of badges together, and then maybe flushing them down the loo, you know, as an artwork in itself, I thing it might work quite well.  Or then, there is my animated invigilator idea… The Turner Prize, complete with invigilators who are allowed to say exactly what they think about the work on show, without any restrictions, who are allowed to say and express exactly what they think in any way that they want to…Now that WOULD be interesting…Maybe the photographers could join in too? It could be a merry dance, a very merry dance.

I take a look  from time to time,  at the prints of Ivon Hitchens paintings in my much loved “Ivon Hitchens” by Peter Khoroche, and almost cry. Now, them, even though only delivered to me through printing ink on flat paper, and small in size too, I do find emotive.  If I sound like an incurable romantic, then it may be that this is what I am.  And in the “real” world,  I’m looking…looking at clouds and buildings, pigments in the direct sunlight, the types of pigments used for painting walls, how they change, how they relate, and they are coming closer to me I hope, almost like the air I breathe. I’m not painting right now, but I am forming many images in my mind as I concentrate on seeing and perceiving more of the light and colour and shape and form around me. With all my recent studies on the formal aspects of painting, I still find myself looking to nature, and I think there is a wonder there, that I could easily miss if I spent too much time with my own work.

One thing irked me at the Turner Prize Exhibition, and that, I must confess, did come from a little jealousy, but of a very practical nature.  Simply…How great it would be to be able to paint on a sizable canvas, rather than the small scale substrates I normally use.  All my paintings have to be stored in an already very full house.  We must work with what we have.  At least I experienced no other jealousy about any other aspect of the Turner Prize Exhibition.  Oh, there was the room, the space, of course.  That is a great space.  Room.  Room to fill.  I wish I had that.  Nothing else though.  However, I have been able to start exploring the issues arising from painting on a larger scale, as I have been spending a considerable amount of time working on a mural design. How exciting to be able to use my knowledge of computer imaging software to enable me to work out a large scale design, which I can easily translate onto a wall, via computer printed stencils and a grid system. Sometimes using an overhead projector to transfer a mural design to a wall is not possible, and the same goes for drawing freehand…if you cannot step back far enough you cannot see what you are doing! It’s interesting working within limitations with regard to the colours which are possible, as for in exterior mural painting the colours must be very lightfast. Due to the large tin sizes available of the silicate (mineral) masonry paint I plan to use, I need to tint a lot of white paint in varying tones and hues, and this itself requires careful consideration and planning. Needless to say the design is fairly simple! I am choosing silicate masonry paint because it is eco friendly, and its also the most durable exterior paint available. It allows the wall to breath, because it’s microporous.

Oil painting based on one of the poems by Jenny Meehan

Part of coursework on a short course at West Dean College 2010

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