Friday, 20 April 2007

Across the Wobbly Bridge

Millennium Bridge (Oil on canvas, 16 x 16 ins)

I guess that about does it. Like every picture, there are always touches and tickles that need to be done after a short while (for instance I want to take down the brightness of the St George's crest), but basically I'm done with this. The Prospective Buyer is going to bring his wife into the studio to have a look at it.

I felt like I was on a roll yesterday. I've not felt that way for some time and I think this may, in part, be put down to the pressure of getting things - expected things, done in an expected way - completed on time. One of the inevitable problems of having to earn a crust, I suppose.

Anyway, having put the Wobbly Bridge to bed, I pulled out a little landscape I've been performing surgery on. I made this landscape for a show a couple of years ago and ever since I've been unhappy with it. It showed a grassy foreground with a typically dark ploughed Scottish field beyond, and misty hills disappearing into a foggy sky. The hills and sky didn't convince me at all.

As an experiment, I thought I'd replace them with a sky I'd photographed from the window of Stately Zip Mansion. The initial knocking in was promising and the field, because of the change in surrounding colouration, took on the aspect of water. Yesterday I let myself go with the paint (mixed with Spectrum Matt Spectragel) and had fun producing this:

It needs a bit more work, especially at the point where hills and clouds meet, but I think this one will work out. As my Old Tutor used to say, "Do ten more!"

My last bit of work - more thinking than painting - was to try out a possible rescue of another painting gone out of favour with its creator.

One of the realisations I've come to in the past few weeks is that I have to break out of the topographically-inspired work I've been working away at ...well, more or less since I began painting. It's limiting my ability to show elsewhere. Although I feel the paintings I produce should be appreciated for themselves, I find that the punters want to recognise the place. I don't much care about the place; it's the painting, the composition, how it's painted, the texture etc, that makes it for me.

Following the punters' likes and dislikes has led me into Bad Ways. There are only so many places in NewcastleGateshead that people are interested in as places to be painted and I'm bored with them. I started a series of other places to try to make them of interest to the public, but to be honest, my heart's not in them. So I decided to Cease and Desist.

The one below is one I started and abandoned as part of the Cease & Desist project.. What I'm trying out here is an experiment to see if I might finally get into some of the figure painting I've talked about before. Yes, I know the figure is a cartoon; in fact he's appeared here before shortly after I met him. Doesn't bother me. I recorded him as a cartoon because it was the quickest way I knew to get him down after I'd got home, but also because he was, in himself, pretty much a caricature anyway.

Not only do I have to decide whether to proceed with this next week, but I also have to decide before then on his scale against the background. There are three possibilities:

I'd be interested in your views, even if I reserve the right to ignore them in a cavalier fashion.


jafabrit said...

I like the last one because then the focus is on the figure with the scenery being the backdrop. If the figure is small then the figure is less commanding and the focus in on the whole scene.

Ps. I LOVE your landscape sky, it is gorgeous.

Mr Zip said...

That was my thinking yesterday, but I began to back-pedal today. There's an element of contrast between the Old Gadgie and the new architecture which might become the focus. On the other hand, that might work just as well with a larger figure. And I wouldn't have to try to paint the dog.

Glad you like the sunset. I'll try not to ruin it next week.

Anna said...

I'd go for the smaller figure, but anchor him to the left of the painting - that way you'd get a feeling that he is about to journey across the canvas. Then the buildings could really dominate the tentative little chap.

ian gordon said...

Good post. I've been VERY lazy this past couple of weeks, and similarly revising my recent policy of confining myself to "themes". I suppose the answer is to do it all! The stuff that gets accepted locally, and a little of what you fancy on the side.


Out of the three pics I'd certainly go for the first. I think if he covers too much of the building then the sky starts to dominate the space on the canvas.

Mr Zip said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr Zip said...

Thanks to you both. I'm coming round to your way of thinking.

Ian - I think I was neglecting the role of the sky in this, in my desire to step back from the buildings as primary subject matter. Ta.

Secret Simon said...

Hi Mr Zip - Just found this post. If it's not too late, I'd definitely go with anna and ian for the smaller figure. What's coming across to me is his vulnerable humanity in contrast to the slightly scary impersonal architecture and that comes over best with the smallest version of the figure, I think.

Mr Zip said...

A pertinent comment, but too late, I'm afraid. Thanks anyway.