Following on from my previous work, My Brand Art, I wanted to work on a much larger piece without the limitations of a particular colour palette, to see how this would influence and shape my work. As with my previous work, I used a previous life drawing as a jumping off point and then started working from there.
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Here is the below sketch which I have cropped and re-angled to fill the space matching the size of my canvas. I purposefully arranged the image in this way as I felt there was a flow from the bottom left to top right corner of the space which would lend itself well to the abstract painting I wanted to create.
As with my previous works I set about transferring the most notable shapes from the sketch onto the canvas. I can see that it’s not completely accurate and that some spaces are larger or smaller than they should be, but I’m ok with it, the sketch is merely a jumping off point after all. I then started filling the voids with vivid block colours, using a range of blues, yellow, orange, pink and green. The canvas size is 150cm x 100cm and I use a range of acrylic paints.
Working to blur the lines between the sections of the block colours, I used various colours with swift quick, brisk movements using large paintbrushes. The image is starting to lose its resemblance of a body and transforming into something else. One comment I received at this stage was that it reminded someone of a caterpillar. (This is why I love abstract art and how it is so open to interpretation and seen so differently through the eyes of others).
I continued to work quickly and briskly with various paint colours and large brush strokes, there is still a slight resemblance to the original block colour shapes but the blurring is becoming more prominent.
In this next phase, the block colour shapes are almost unrecognisable. I started moving away from brush strokes and to using palette knives, transferring lots of thick paint onto the canvas, in short, quick movements.
I disliked how the canvas was coming together at this point and started moving back to using long brush strokes, as well as incorporating an acrylic retardant to slow the drying time of the paint and produce more of a fluid image. I much prefer the tones and colours at this stage in contrast to the previous versions. It’s softer and warmer, a layer to this painting which could provide good contrast for future layers.
Well, I continue to dislike how I’m working on this piece, it’s not coming together, the colour, tone, shapes, everything, but in hindsight, this is an important stage of the process, and of not giving up.
Still not enjoying or liking this process, wondering where I should go with this? I pictured a colourful vibrant bright abstract puzzle, but seem to be creating something dull and dreary.
This was a low point of the entire process, I’m beyond disappointed with how this is working and full of self-doubt, but decided to take a break and not give up.
I start reworking on the abstract painting introducing some different colours, indigo in particular reignited my enthusiasm I used a lot of indigo in one of my first abstract paintings – My Abstract Art. Using the palette knife I also start to vigorously cut through the now thick layers of painting to reveal the subtleties underneath, reminding myself that the period of mess, drudge and ineptitude in the middle was not in vain, it was part of a process which got me to where I am now, on the brink of something else.I then considered re-introducing the original round shapes of the block colours and the life drawing sketch. Considering the contrast between the moody, blurred background and the light and vibrant shapes.
I continue adding in some more shapes, lines and colours but it doesn’t quite feel right. (Apologies the lighting in these photographs, it’s not bright enough and the images are darker than the original at the time).
Now the white lines joining the smaller orange circles follow the ebb and flow of the body shape and create a movement and playfulness in the entire image. This final image also is shot with the correct lighting and presents an accurate likeness of the actual painting itself. I’m still working on documenting and photographing my work so it displays a true likeness but this final image is almost there.
I hope you enjoyed reading about the process and thoughts around my artwork. I have tried to be honest as I can with the challenges and self-doubt that can often plague creativity and spoil the enjoyment of artwork.Ultimately though working on this abstract has inspired me to create a series with a clear vision, using the different stages I have demonstrated in this piece. I’ve gone back to my original My Brand Art triptych and added in the last stages of circles shapes and lines to link them all together.
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