Doing the large-scale commission forced me to go large. Two other paintings, from the same Sussex woods that the commission began in, are both 4’ x 5’ or 122 x 154.5 cm. Large enough to lie down in. Just.
It was stretching, in more ways than one, to work at this scale. And freeing. And it helped me find a mode of working where I’m less likely to fuss over detail. These paintings bring together fragments of seeing - many of the marks involve accurate but partial drawing (in paint) of the environment - and a more fluid reaction to sounds in the environment. Not synaesthesia exactly, but certainly a response, a notation in paint to what I was hearing.
The work on the right, above, resolved at the unnameable point where exterior environment intersects with sensory perception and my interior sense of composition. Energy, rhythm, colour and design all come together even with the usefully unfinished quality, that answers with my aesthetic sense of something being sufficiently finished.
Both Soundscape paintings synthesise the elements that came together in their making. They are paintings about the process of making paintings.
Meanwhile, I was watching varnish dry, after Christmas.
A traditional glossy varnish would be all wrong for a contemporary piece. But I needed to seal unpainted areas of white canvas and even out glossier and more matt patches of paint (some containing bits of tree and airborne seeds).
Soundscape 1 now has a uniform even sheen, on the matte side of ‘satin.’ The painting is protected, and can be cleaned without wiping off mixed media elements in the painting. Memories of Mr Bean accidentally dissolving the face off Whistler’s mother come to mind.