Monday, 29 June 2009

Boats Series

Two paintings I created using oil on canvass and blow torching
Concealed and revealed was the topic title for this series of paintings. To the left are a couple of pieces I created for this topic based on a photo shoot of boats.
The links between concealed and reveled and boats may seem quite weired which is why i have taken the time to explain how I decided on this topic and the artist which inspired me. I'm not going to go on about spirituality and feelings or any of that crap, but I feel it is imperative to mention my appreciation of the artists, as without them my paintings wouldn't exist to but it bluntly.

For the artist what is to be concealed and revealed may be related through his or her own experience or the experience of the viewer or user. This could take the form of depicting that which is concealed or revealed or it may involve the spectator in actual physical discovery. The building up of an impasto surface may to a degree conceal the previous work but in fact the later stages of the painting are often governed by the initial marks made by the artists. The creation of the paintings surface is determined by a layering process, which conceals only to reveal. The unpremeditated gesture can tear away the veil of concealment within the ordered tableau. The thumbprint on the foot of a pot, the artisan's mark on the brick carving, all reveal the humanity of the maker.

Close up of one of my paintings showing the depth the blow torch creates over PVA glue.

The starting point for this project evolved from the artist Alberto Burri, as with his use of layers of sack cloth and hessian with the bright and characteristic colour red seeping through provided an interesting interpretation of what Burri intended to create which is the treatment of wounds. Burri also was my inspiration for the use of the one and only blow torch, to create create holes and craters in the surface of his work.

Alberto Burri

At the same time I was inspired by the work of Tom McKendrick, an artist and sculptor who grew up in the ship building town of Clyderbank near Glasgow, and Submarine was the name of his multimedia exhibition in Glasgow in 1999. This exhibition was inspired by his childhood obsession with a device that could go underwater and emerge again at pleasure, and with its development into the deadly weapon of today. The submarine relies on invisibility and operates by stealth. He was influenced by the submarines ugliness yet powerfulness combined. Mckendricks artwork based on marine concepts allowed me to appreciate the hidden layers and mixed perceptions created through boats and submarines depicted through a lacking of realism, instead a focus on the mirage of colour and texture created through general ware and tear of the sea. Additionally linking back to the topic title and Burri's work, I chose to focus on boats and the layers of peeling paint and under layers of paint revealed by the sea, which is similar to what Burri was trying to create through concealing the blood wound with hessian. Alongside this destructive and worn image, the bright use of colours and focus on lettering and numbers in Mckendricks work were my favourite aspect, thus making the prospect of an old fishing boat seem fresh and interesting. The bright colours represent the new repaired parts of boats alongside the old rusty and worn parts, representing the concealed and revealed theme.

Another artist which increased my motivation in pursuing the boat theme is Rosy Maguire, who was born in Harrogate and studied photography and multimedia at the university of Westminster. Maguire used the camera as a means of selecting and stealing ephemeral images before they are covered with protective layers of paint and the boats are returned to sea. Whilst in the sea, water and marine life attack the painted hulls causing blistering, peeling and corrosion of the paint despite the highly developed chemically formulated coating systems applied each year the power of nature over technology result in the formulation of ready made artworks rich in colour and leaving interesting marks along the horizontal bands of paint marking the water line.

"Old paint on canvass, as it ages, sometimes becomes transparent. When that happens it is possible, in some pictures to see the original lines: a tree will show through a woman's dress, a child makes way fro a dog, a large boat is no longer on the open sea. That is called pentimento because the painter 'repented', changed his mind. Perhaps it would be as well to say the old conception, replaced by a later choice, is a way of seeing and then seeing again".
Photocopys of a photo I took, creating a joiner, covered by oil pastels and me

I took a series of photographs myself of the sides of boats, creating the same sense of illusion Maguire was created, seeing not just a boat but an abstract landscape for example, concealing the real identity of the photograph. These photographs were used to create the series of paintings shown on this blog.

Oil on canvass by me....

Friday, 26 June 2009


Johnny Cash....Alien Rhythm....Man in Black....

I have wanted to do a series of self portraits for a while now. I always new they wouldn't be 100% realised and representational as that is not how I roll....I like to mix a bit of everything into one portrait. I must admit sometimes I found balancing the composition quite difficult, and I think in future to pull this look off I need to do it on a larger scale, or just less busy!!
Below is a photo of the whole Johnny Cash piece, however I did some close ups to show how the burning over PVA glue creates the spider Web effect....and the close ups them selves make an interesting painting in themselves......

Marilyn Monroe.......
All the paintings in this series involve using some Andy Warhole inspired techniques, mixed with ideas established from David Hockney Joiners. I didn't start the pieces with any particular composition in mind, however after creating a joiner the painting and layering effects I have achieved flowed quite easily. I created most of my layering through the use of the one and only blow torch! I don't no where I would be without it! This is down to the sometimes unpredictable, sometimes faultless effect it adds to almost any surface. My favourite kind of 'burn' is over PVA glue, I'm no junky like, but the effect is immense. Burning also works well over any paint, especially oils although you need some serious water or wet tea towel at the ready as if your using turps you can imagine what happens.

I use photos of the idols features in the paintings, and either paint over them or repeat the same facial expression through drawing it in myself. This mixed media approach provides depth and detail to the paintings, and allows my own personal improvement of realist drawings. Something which I am constantly trying to perfect.......Watch this space as I am currently creating another larger piece using super hero's!!