A mighty painting challenge gone good

In my last blog I talked about the set of three paintings I was currently working on. My Tryptich was finished at the end of June ready for its exhibition in Northwich... so, a little about this mysterious painting then!

Well, as part of a locally focused project I looked at the canal waterways dotted around the countryside near to where I live in Warrington. These spaces have always called out to me to paint as they are usually very serene, great areas for contemplation as you walk along the banks and very pretty structurally as well as aesthetically. Though I don’t paint in a traditional style, the challenge for me was to deconstruct elements of these canalscapes and put it back together in a semi-abstract way. I like the idea of being able to still recognise something, yet it has been recreated in a (hopefully) wonderful way that makes it visually exciting.

So, ta daaa here are some images of the final Tryptich...

I can definitely see how my style is growing and developing. My love for colour and texture overrides almost anything! The key was in building up layer after layer of colour. Multiple glazes, thick textured paint incorporating sand or heavy texture gel, iridescent and metallic colours as an opposite to the ‘normal’ green of the canals. I used a new material for me, foil, for the water, as I knew this would have a great reflective quality and after many layers of glazes I was happy to still retain this effect. The crumpled-up ness of the foil also worked well to help form the effect of moving water.

You may have noticed the metallic glazed trees which are textured with polyfilla to give them a slight raise and I also used a sponging technique to apply the paint. The canal was again a multitude of layered acrylic colour, and a hell of a lot of sgraffito (scratching into the paint). I integrated tissue paper in various areas to create interest especially in the sky and down at the bottom so everything balanced out well.

My main tip throughout is to keep a mini ‘POA’ - Plan of Action. I hate forgetting things and I also hate thinking about something else whilst I’m working on an area. So as I was painting, when I’d stand back and see the whole picture as a whole and there was an area I thought needed extra glazes, more texture, more of a particular colour to create additional tones (light/shade) I would write it down. Then I could still keep working on an area properly. Plus I personally like the process of ‘ticking actions off’ as I completed an area!

Another helpful thing to note is that I think working to a deadline - whether it be your own or for an exhibition is a brilliant tool as it keeps you focused. Plus never be afraid to experiment, always do mini samples first if you’re not sure how it may turn out.

I hope you like it as much as I do, any comments will be gratefully received.

P.S. My next blog will be about painting and sketching outdoors. After just arriving back from an amazing trip to Andalusia I am ready to share all!


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