Episode 17

2 September 2020

2 September 2020

I love springtime, even if the temperatures are cool still. My studio is well lit and warm and its a pleasure to work here. For me spring brings such optimism, new growth in the garden, preparing for summer, longer days. Love it.

The last few weeks I have been exploring contrasts and composition. I had always believed that you should work out a pleasing composition before starting a painting. Placing the subject in certain positions (1/3 rule); deliberately using line and colour to create depth and lead the eye to the focal area then around the painting. Its not so easy with abstract painting which I am currently focussed on. I am attempting to paint with just an intention and a limited choice of colours. I am working intuitively just letting the image create itself without any plan. Later I come in and create a composition.

The approach I am learning is to use contrast to create the composition towards the end of the process. There are a number of ways to do this; contrast in tone(dark and light), contrast in placement(using different shapes to move the viewer’s eye around), contrast in colour( warm and cool, saturated and de-saturated) and contrasts in marks(drawn and scratched in lines, stamps, collage, dots etc)

The first one shown is using saturated warm colours against cool neutrals to show subtle contrast. There are lots of lines and free mark making. I really enjoyed making this one and have entered it for selection in the Art Society of Tasmania’s annual exhibition. I have clled it ‘Spirit song’

The next few images are exercises from the past two weeks. I have been trying to incorporate floral motifs into some of these little abstracts, with mixed success. Think I did eight in all. Here a two.

Below is another set of 30 cm exercises. And following that, one of the ‘not yet finished’ but further developed ones. We had to adjust the tonal values or shapes and marks to create a better composition. Still a work in progress!!

These exercises have challenged me as an artist and person. Alongside these I have been working on 3 other larger paintings now nearing completion. Need to decide on titles and will get them up on my website soon.

I have one other that I am working on in my quest to abstract floral images. It’s gone through a few stages and I am still hopeful I can resolve this one. So far most of the layers are transparent. I have lost some of the vibrancy of the flowers but think I can restore that without getting to realistic and detailed. Fingers crossed. Following are 3 of the stages. Still a way to go.

I have two modules/weeks to go with the course I am doing. This week I am working on four larger paintings as well as continuing to finish some I have mentioned. Focussing on colour contrasts and mark making.

Writing this blog has been a useful way to document my progress but I have also filled two journals; one A4 with 110 pages and an A5. The latter is used to research the work of other artists all over the world. This has been very valuable. You just don’t get that exposure visiting local galleries. By journalling you also study the works in more depth rather than just glancing a moving on as you do in a gallery.

I have so enjoyed this course. Thank you Louise Fletcher!

5 thoughts on “Episode 17

  1. Well done Gaye. You seem to have gained so much doing this course. Andrew recently gave me a book about Constable, and he used journals, which he used for later larger paintings and for studying the subject. I’ve enjoyed reading it….and your newsletters. Ax


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