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31 May 2011

Driftwood


Once again it became abstract. It was driftwood but now, not so much.
It is good to start with something solid, something that can be seen and touched, an object with shadows and texture. Sketch it and sketch it again.  With charcoal, pencils and paint; loose easy sketches.
At some point it changes and becomes the patterns from my head.  The patterns that have formed because of the things I have seen or films I have watched, music I listen to, books I have read, beaches I have walked on or the sky or a tree, the sea, flowers, people, paintings...
Anyway, I found driftwood on a beach; it was interesting as most organic forms are. Using coffee stain, sea salt and gouache I began to paint on four canvases. Starting with pure white can be daunting so the coffee stain went on first and,  in keeping with the beach theme, I thought I would shake on some sea salt.  Once dry I scrapped off the sea salt, it left that satisfying rustic effect; with random patterns and an organic, aged feel. Unexpectedly, the sea salt left a little sparkle on the canvas which altered my plans for the canvases slightly and they became more ethereal and daydreamy. I used a limited palette of yellow ochre, crimson, ultramarine and white. The shapes came from the wood but I may also have been thinking of sprites in trees and the fraying rope that happened to be in the room where I was painting.
As I said, I began with four, but I thought too much about one of the canvases and forced a little figure onto the 'driftwood' that coincidentally looked like a tree but it did not sit well, so I discarded the canvas and called these three finished.
I always run the risk of overworking my paintings and over thinking aspects of the work, there is often a point where the piece looks fine and then I go on and on, adding more and more and it is difficult to bring it back.  I have to remind myself to stand back every now and then, to see what is happening with the painting, to see where its going and see if I should stop for a while.
Oh and the one with the little figure will undoubtedly become something else, so don't worry about that. X