An Answer to Prayer, detail – mixed media on canvas
“Everything you can imagine is real.” Pablo Picasso
‘An Answer to Prayer’ is my latest painting: an abstract initially inspired by, of all things, fridge poetry.* But the words were just the starting point. This painting has taken me on quite a journey. I’ve ventured way outside my comfort zone. Way, way outside. I have painted abstracts before but this was an entirely different experience and I’ve ended up with something that doesn’t look like anything I’ve painted before. I guess that’s to be expected when you’re experimenting. I would call it an imagined landscape rather than an imaginary one. It’s surreal and personal and creating it has made me see Picasso’s words in a new light.
*Fridge poetry is made from magnetic word sets that can be arranged and rearranged on a fridge door, providing endless hours of fun and amusement. I posted photographs of some of my favourites on Facebook a few years ago. This painting was inspired by one of those poems and was transferred to the canvas using the same technique as ‘Time’.
An Answer to Prayer – mixed media on canvas, 305 x 610 mm, 2017. Sold.
Time, detail – mixed media on canvas, 200 x 200 mm, 2017
Time has its own unique sound.
I’ve heard the talking hours.
I have been experimenting with transferring printed poetry on to canvas. I printed the poem on paper using a standard inkjet printer and transferred it to the canvas using acrylic gel medium. It’s a technique that works surprisingly well. Once dry, the paper is removed by dampening it with water and rubbing it off very carefully. This is the tricky part because there is always a danger of removing the printed image along with the paper. I then painted around the words to create a sort of arty version of the original blackout poem.
I added touches of yellow ochre and some light blue and gave it a slightly mad but subtle texture. It’s still mostly black though. In fact it’s so black that I had to take the canvas outside to get a decent photograph. I think the leafy autumn backdrop rather suits the poem (below).
My next experiment is going to be a ‘fridge poetry’ painting. And whatever image that sentence just conjured up for you… it’s not going to look anything like that.
“If things bring you joy, keep them.
‘What? You still have that?’
Yes. I keep them because they are treasure.”
I’ve been reading (and finding blackout poetry in) Marie Kondo’s book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’ and don’t let the poem fool you… I am preparing to embark on an epic journey. The book — and the KonMari Method — are intriguing and, yes, potentially life-changing. I’ll keep you posted.