When I came back from Japan I had three very similar paintings in progress. One of them, Facing East, is completed and has a serene feeling of vast space. This is the second one which stalled half way because of my pre-Christmas workload. I’ve come back to it once or twice since and added a bit of texture but wasn’t at all happy with it. It felt unbalanced and rather boring.
I keep a mirror in my studio as it can be a really useful way of getting a fresh look at a painting that’s stuck, or of checking one to see if it’s really done. Looking at this one in the mirror, I could see just how unbalanced the tonal values were, and how unrelenting the foreground.
Being in a fairly rash mood – and also being a little bit tired of working on this painting, I just let rip on it. (Apologies for the quality of the photos. I was working with my iPhone so the photos are a bit ‘quick and dirty’)
First I needed a dark in the sky to provide some balance. So I rewet the sky, dropped a big dark splodge of Indigo into the top right corner and tilted the paper 90 degrees to let the pigment fan out naturally.
Finally I got going with some bleach, water and a toothbrush. Splatters flew, and after a few sessions of flinging paint and chemicals around (all carefully directed I hasten to add) – I ended up with something I think is quite interesting.
At least it’s not boring.