2016 has been a year of false starts and I have found it difficult to settle into a good working routine. I messed up a couple of paintings early in the year and it was all the harder to get back. There is always a countless number of tasks to hoover up my time when I allow them to. Then there were the usual winter related flus and viruses, one particularly nasty one has just made it’s way through three members of the family, myself included and here we are it’s May already.
If I have learned one thing over the past few months, it is that I need to allocate some time every week to painting and stick to it. Then I must use the time as efficiently as possible. I cleared out my painting studio a couple of weeks ago and this helped to make a fresh start. For me, it’s a question of focus and confidence. I visualise what I want to do and then I set about getting it down on canvas. I don’t worry too much about making mistakes, I just keep going until the painting is finished and it is usually fairly clear to me when I can’t do any more with a piece.
The inspiration for this painting came from a photo I took near Maam Cross in January. I used this image for the basic composition – the large mountain in the background, the strong cleft through the landscape and the swirling grasses.
This is how the piece started out. I took the photo late at night so there’s some reflection. I thought afterwards that the mountain looked a bit too like Eyre’s Rock so I scaled it down a bit at the next stage.
This next stage is interesting because the inks and paint are still very wet – the ink has bubbled where I’ve applied it. I’ve put in lots of contrast – blue to dampen down the background and dark brown to highlight the blue channel and some shadows in the grasses. I’ve tried to introduce lots of movement in these grass shapes with each application of colour.
This photo was taken once the paint had dried. The colours have died down, although the movement is still there. At this point, the piece is almost ready for varnishing.
I added some red paint in a few places before varnishing as I felt it needed a bit of warmth. I’m happy with this one and glad to be back to work.