“A painting is never finished ― it simply stops in interesting places.” Paul Gardner
This is not one of the paintings I originally planned to do for next month’s exhibition but it was whispering in the back of my brain, nagging me to be painted ― so here is my first day’s progress: the underpainting. There are a few areas I want to correct but, overall, I really like the way this one is coming together.
“The longer you look at an object, the more abstract it becomes, and, ironically, the more real.” Lucian Freud
“Draw on both sides of the line, not just what you’re enclosing. The shape you’re making on the outside is as important as the one you’re making on the inside.” Leon Polk Smith
My latest painting, the one that began last week with this photo and sketch: a combination of brilliant sunlight and playful cloud shapes. And who doesn’t love finding things in the clouds?
I’m reminded of the Joni Mitchell song Both Sides, Now: “I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now, from up and down, and still somehow it’s cloud illusions I recall ― I really don’t know clouds at all.”
“If you want a subject, look around you.” Peter Brook
This commission was a bit special, both for the client and for me. The Press Building was the home of The Press newspaper from 1909 until February 2011. A beautiful building situated in Cathedral Square, it was one of the casualties of the Christchurch 2010–2011 earthquakes. Even though the painting shows its last autumn (in 2010), we wanted it to represent happier times and evoke fond memories.
The painting is a combination of two of my In the Style of… paintings: the building and tree from The Press and the leaves from Tram. The red geraniums originally appeared in Press Lane, an experimental sketch I did in 2013. I photographed the final painting on a dull day — the tree is actually very dark brown, not black. And at 40″ x 54″ (1015mm x 1370mm), it’s my largest ever painting.