I’m aiming towards an exhibition based around the allotment site where I have had a plot for the last six years. Working this way, rather than jumping from one painting to the next with no conscious connection, is novel, and it’s very enjoyable. In large part because it’s slowed me down, it feels less hectic, and is involving me in extensive sketchbook work for the first time since college days.
Reference photo below taken at Tenantry Down Allotments in Brighton
Like other recent work this started as a mono print, and I intended to keep it simple, but watch this space, there’s a big gap between intention and execution. I have a pre-mixed selection of colours (Winsor & Newton and Lukas mainly) and no certainty about what went into them, so won’t dwell on pigments in this blog!
I keep slogging away at it, trying to get something to work, and it finally occurs after leaving it for a couple of days that it is two separate paintings, the ’empty’ centre area needs to be ditched.
‘Leaving it for a couple of days’ is a technical term for disengaging emotionally from your picture and letting a bit of objectivity creep in. Below is what remains, the left and the right side of the painting and a small section from the bottom of the page. The old man has become a youth and the smoke all but gone.
Gouache has some of the characteristics of oil, and some of watercolour. Used opaque you can work over and cover areas you want to get rid of or alter, it can also be thinned down to a wash, or anything in between. It’s less finely ground (hence its opacity) and chalkier than watercolour. It allows some of those changes of mind that oil is so brilliant for, you can think on the paper instead of having to plan ( and sometimes over plan). Watercolour is ravishing and exciting, but always a little frightening, especially if you have an idea of where you are trying to get to.
The next stage with this is to take it into oil