Gillian, L-B, Untitled, 2016, [Oil on wood] 1000 x 1500 cm
This painting underwent many transformations. Various squeegees were used to make and merge marks, to blend colours and to differentiate areas of the board. To begin with I used unmediated various shades of green paint.
Stage one was a complete departure from how I started other recent paintings. I deliberately applied a variety of shades of green, unmediated paint using a spatula to make crescent marks which I then spread into ribbons and incomplete rings which emerged like bellowing smoke rings. I then painted over the ribbons and rings, or created a 3D illusion that the paint was behind other lines (see bottom of board).
I began the next stage by saturating a brush with Pip Seymour PM5 medium and began to brush the concentrated areas of paint around the outside edges of the central ribbons and rings of green paint. using brushes felt controlled and slow so I reverted to using a squeegee to push the paint to the outside edge of the board and cut into it with the edge of the squeegee to differentiate intersecting areas of paint.
Some of the marks made by the squeegee look organic – frond-like. There is also sense of ice splitting into a myriad of microscopic cracks, crevices and fractures.
The feather like marks like those shown here remind me of marks produced in mono-printing. I was interested in how a change of direction in the use of the squeegee records the change of direction in time and space on the board as though tracing the changing direction of the wind or the wings of a bird in flight.
It is as though one energy system flowed up against another more impenetrable front which caused the more flexible and reactive front to change direction. This sense of alteration along a plane enhances the organic, active feel inspired by this painting.
I added lines and slivers of light by scraping paint away (see top middle). The wave motion made by the squeegee reminds me of the images made by ultra-sound scanning. I am interested in the way some lines merge while others are elongated or stunted under the pressure of the squeegee. Lines are pulled out to reach their ultimate lengths while others cluster together. Lines also separate and break away. The image above is also reminiscent of photographs of the earth taken from space.
At this stage new colours were introduced: white, purple madder, ultramarine blue; Michael Harding’s kings light blue and cobalt turquoise deep. New colours liberate the emerging picture and produce fresh opportunities for departures, connections and correlations.
White acrylic paint was applied to the board to obliterate the previous stages. Using the squeegee in sweeping motions to slice through the wet white surface the underlying colours shot through to form grass-like forms in a snowy landscape. Perhaps communicating with the familiar constitutes a place to pause before exerting energy once more. To break away from this stage I applied ochre and burnt sienna. Although these are earth colours so have associations with grasses, they broke up and melted the white like blasts of sunlight signifying a new season.
View of entire surface.
This section and the one below – now obliterated – were preserved as studies of colour combinations and for their markings.
This section shows how slashes, scraping and prizing open the surface ochre and burnt sienna revealed the vibrant greens and purple madder tones beneath.
This section from the final version shows the use of unbleached titanium oxide (selected rather than a white for its warmer tones). It also highlights the scoring and scarification beneath the surface which add textures, lines and shadows as do those which follow.