Standing back after an intense session of painting and trying to work out where it’s going I can sometimes see parts of the chaos in my mind. Usually on a day where I finally tackle my fears, the what, why, when, how, but, all shower down in a deafening noise. Then I stop and I can begin to make sense of something.. sometimes.
This work in progress is perhaps another of those..
This came about on the top of Scarr mountain a few days ago. Looking out over the valley and onto the distant hills and forests. I followed the line of trails with my eye like a virtual map in front of me. Trying to work out my surroundings and where I was in relation to what I saw.
Plein air drawing in charcoal on cotton rag paper.
My trails, my ventures, my paths, my presence. It calls to mind a sense of living and where I’ve been in life up until now. Time has no presence, its hard to comprehend sometimes.
Plein air drawing is something I am doing a lot more of lately. It has no comparison to drawing in the studio. I get a sense of place in the studio and I work from memory. The studio forces me in to draw without a subject in the room and work from memory. When I draw out in the open, something else happens. It allows me to connect in the moment and respond there and then when something that catches my eye. In the studio I recall those moments but to bring back an image of my interpretation unlike a captured photographic image, reinforces a strong connection to the landscape and how I see it.
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I am thrilled to have my work photographed and now posted to my website here in Work 7. This work came about so fast and is continuing into the next pieces with a small change in direction. I am looking at opening the space more in the work as per my postlast week. I am excited with whats happening right now in my painting. The need to be out more in the open sketching plein air seems to be really helping too.
The direction I want to go with my work is to give space to the painting. It needs more of a way in and an outlet. Out of curiosity I attended this years ‘Speed Curating’ at Get Together 2019 and I gained some good advise from some of Ireland’s top gallery curators. I know most of my strengths and weaknesses and with some been pointed out to me is reassuring and encouraging. Only good can come from constructive criticism and I will make relevant decisions to constantly build and improve my work. I am excited to see where it will take me.
My art is my response to nature and the surrounding landscape. My thoughts often drift from what’s on this planet to the wonder beyond our greater universe. Something that I feel needs no explanation but is always part of the work. . .
Here are four new paintings out of many I’ve been working on this past while. This work has taken on its own direction and I am very excited about where it is going and the process of making it.
I went back to abstraction in a more expressive way through charcoal drawing and bringing that through to the painting. When I am out sketching for ideas for a new paining I focus on the atmosphere and details that catch my eye. My drawings are more expressive and quick as I like to get the composition down quickly. When back in my studio I found that the freedom was more enjoyable while doing these quick sketches and that gave me the urge to start the painting with charcoal and pencil, making marks and developing something to start with. I didn’t want to loose the drawing so when painting I would keep what appealed and worked as part of the painting, so some of the drawing comes to the surface while other parts get lost. This is the challenge that makes the work more interesting to make and with free gestural strokes and use of colour, this way of painting has been an exciting new direction.
With my last painting series between 2016/17 which was my explorations of the forests and trees. I saw them as reminders of time and in brief of existance. I was interested in the fragilities of the landscape and I became more focused on the dyeing trees. I really indulged into my wonders and love of being in a forest and it was like an itch I had to itch.
I am working on this new painting at the moment and here is a small part of the detail in close up. In its early stages it had been leaning toward a title that came to mind – The Rings Of Saturn.. and more from a sound and movement perspective. For a part of the process I listened to sounds recorded of the planet posted on YouTube..it seemed to intensify the experience and I’m hoping some of that comes through in this painting on completion.
I am currently working on this painting and this was an early stage where it was a few months ago. I felt at the time that it could be finished at that early stage and I didn’t want to do much more with it. I put it aside for a few weeks, which is what I do when I am not sure about a work in progress.
In the above image is where it had come to in the beginning stages. In the first layer I used sand with PVA, which I haven’t used sense my previous trees series. I used the sand to start the beginnings of the composition and then when the PVA mixed with the sand dried I painted the next layer which was oils and colour with oil sticks to mark make. I painted loosely where the painting seemed to want to go toward. I left it for a few weeks and felt it needed to warmer and brighter. So far this is its progress.. it may be concluded but I’ll give it time to rest.