Monday, October 30, 2006

My bats and my boys get linear.

So here are some drawings of wrestlers and bats, those two great staples of great great art.

I’m sort of trying to refine them toward some kind of sort of design for a painting at this stage.

But I also had to draw some big heads, to get that big head thing out of my system. Here are Randy and Ric. They have ‘chemistry’, as they say in the trade. Or at least I think so.

Learning Ric Flair’s face would be like a ten year project. In the meantime I’m still preoccupied with Randy, cos I haven’t quite perfected whatever it is I’m doing with him yet. Getting this far and quitting would be both stupid and unforgivable!

That one absorbed some spillage. I wasn’t drooling with lust as you may have assumed, I merely toppled my beverage.

As you see here, the cheekbone was generous and as such, enabled some bat emergence. Also you see evidence of other brain damaged scribbles indicating an impatience to get on with some proper painting composed of elements and not exclusively heads.

With the wrestlers, I think I could take more notice of the variation in the bodies as they’re just as distinct and trademarky as the faces. Not just the shapes but the way they move may prove important. Important in post apocalyptic bat confrontations.

Because bats don’t mess about!

The end,

Love from Chloe.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bat Mess

Now, when I start trying to plan big ambitious complicated paintings, the first drawings ain’t that pretty, because if they were, all perfect, there’d be no process or growth or point in doing anything to them.

The ‘ambitiousness’ needs time and space to grow.

That was a tiny drawing from my sketchbook. In tiny drawings in little pencil boxes on a sketchbook page, I can be quite nuts and stream of consciousness about things.

On reflection, I think a lot of the swirls and scribbles come from looking at good etchings (Rembrandt, Goya, Picasso) and wanting to get some meaningful expressive line-business in there amongst my paint. I want it all!

Wanting it all may be a crucial part of making my new work good.

There is to be a large threatening bat encroaching on a post 2012 world in which wrestling has been declared the supreme means of human cultural expression.

There’s more to the setting and backstory, probably, but I’m not no storyteller.

I’m going to get my boy wrestlers in there and make them be meaningful with their shiny sweaty faces.

I want to find the humour in my pigheaded seriousnesses and the seriousness amongst the silly pleasures in my life and in my hands.

Sketchbook pages get quite ugly when you’re trying to think about which acrylic colours to choose and which oil colours to put over the tops of them.

I should clarify, possibly, in the light of my last blog about those particular colours and John K’s recent blogs about colour, that I listed the actual tubes of paint I had picked out to use exclusively, rather than the neat colours I would be using on the picture. I mix them up. And I glaze and mingle them and it’s all very confusing, but I’m getting less confused. Whether I mix them up well or put them down nicely is not for me to say.

There are the mere rudiments of a painting. There’ll be progress on this soon, as I’m all obsessed with bats and inserting them in pictures.

Friday, October 20, 2006

the Era of Too Many Rich Reds

Well since I seem to have quite a lot of pictures to show you, I might do the paintings first, pace myself a bit.

There’s a palette I’ve used for a lot of paintings over the past year or so. I’ve been trying to finish them so I can finish up this era.

‘The passionate controversies of one era are viewed as sterile preoccupations by another, for knowledge alters what we seek as well as what we find.’ -
Freda Adler

Lately I’ve been finding these colours problematically bright and sweetie-like. There are too many of them. (Though this also presents an interesting challenge…) In the paintings I’m planning, the colours will be more ‘limited’, one way or another. At least limited enough that I feel in control of the colour and that it doesn’t dominate the other formal aspects of the picture. And so that it doesn’t look horrible and make me want to be sick.

Let’s be thorough about this. Here are the colours I’m lumbered with:

Michael Harding Phthalocyanine Blue and Zinc White

Grumbacher Pre-Tested Oil Quinacridone Red

Grumbacher Pre-Tested Oil Cadmium Barium Yellow Deep

(I think I made the yellow big because yellows are tricky bastards.)

Grumbacher Ultramarine Violet

Old Holland Flesh Ochre

Mussini Burnt Umber

mussini burnt umber

Later, when I came back to the palette and it all seemed a bit too warm and cosy, and I had just bought a MASSIVE tube of raw umber, I added that to the mix too.

It’s the size of the big tube here in front of the little tubes:

Only it’s this colour:

Wikipedia has this useful piece of info about Raw Umber:

Raw Umber is a color that resembles raw umber.

I have a brain that doesn’t like wastage. So when I have a great big tube of a colour, I mind less about using it liberally.

Some of the artist grade oil colours are very expensive, so I become quite… aware…of this when I use them.

The thing is, at the moment I’m veering more toward using acrylic and other waterbased media UNDERNEATH a final layer of oil glazes, rather than using oils alone.

This is because acrylic dries fast and flat, is pleasingly opaque and allows for a more dynamic ‘drawing’ process in which changes and adjustments can be made spontaneously. The combination of acrylic/ the other plethora (plethora!) of media compatible with acrylic/ and finally the richness of oil colour gives quite a lot of scope for intricate other-worldly finishes, and quite a lot of scope for the painting to develop a strong sense of purpose along the way.

So this is Shelby, she’s a lady I painted with just oils, and taking advantage of the blobs and crags that inevitably appear. Using the above palette, I should add. I don’t think she’s finished.

Here’s her face in closeup so you can better see the texture. She’s painted on a ceramic tile:

in contrast, here’s a tiny painting from a while back painted in this palette but with a drawn/ mixed media underpainting and quite a lot more sensitive detail. Of course, it all depends on how much you like sensitive things….

Now a peculiar half-breed… a painting that was getting on quite well being shiny and plasticky, but which has had a decisive opaque oil makeover in recent times. It’s another startled giraffe:

That’s all in the same palette. But I have been subduing it more, painting in flatter swathes with tertiary kind of mixtures, rather than being dictated to by the bossy primaries.

Now… this one’s got really weird. Bob said to me it’s funny that I should turn on a particular picture and call it weird when I’m always painting weird dog explosions and minotaur tantrums. But I’m finding this one tricky. It’s based on some of those old drawings, but it needs to evolve its own authority, it might need a radical change.

I think maybe it’s a transitional type of thing where I’m figuring out HOW I’m going to paint and using wilfully obscure combinations of subject matter and atmosphere.

And Kurt’s developed a bit of a tan.

Here’s another old one in the same palette. This one’s all in oils, but with the texture worked up to a fair old level of detail and teeny tiny brushstrokes and flourishes. There are lots of ways I like to paint, but I think this isn’t quite the way that’s right for Right Now.

I have more painted stuff to show, but I will save it for an imminent follow-up, since it’s all in different colours and generally it’s got a lot more to do with bats. Then there will be some drawings too.

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