I recently flipped over I plywood board I've been using for a few years now as a backing board. On the back is a painting I started about 5 years ago. For some reason I just never got around to finishing it. I remember having it on my easel and once it was dry I just forgot about it. I must of had a long spell without painting and got on with printmaking mono prints at that time.
Every once and a while I would flip the board over and discover the unfinished painting again. I'd give it a thought for a second and just decide it wasn't the right time to consider finishing it.
But recently in the last couple if weeks, I decided it was time to start work on it again and get it finished. I guess the strangness of the tree shape really appeals to me right now. It's a bit abstract and as a subject it's perfect at this particular time.
In this first session I've started with the sky laying down some greys and greens. The greens are mixed using yellow ochre and black tinted with some burnt umber. Also I've put in some pink hues to play against the greens and greys. At this early stage I'm considering the tree dark tones for the next session. Just giving it a thought. I've added some distant background landscape and worked on the water in the middle ground. Just working away and getting a feel for everything at this stage. I'm calling the central motif a tree, but it is a vase-like monolithic object the more I think about it. The bird shape on the top of it needs to be considered as the painting progresses. Im liking the scattered relics of rock figures and face in the composition very much. I'm excited to be working on this painting. See how it goes.
I think I'm happy with this next stage. I might be finished ? I really went all out in my approach to painting the trees. More highlights and looser brush strokes. More random accents of color and I just feel like its abstract enough to give the impression of a trees with bark patterns, but also seem strange and surreal enough to just look out of place in this dark, moody landscape. I feel it's at a stage where the only thing for the viewer to do is really consider the picture as an idea after the initial attention was for the painting to seem real. Now if the trees look out of place or abstract shapes, then there's nothing really left to ponder other than to interpret the picture as a construction of an idea. Now the art begins.....
I've added some more accents of reds and blues, greens to the grass areas. I'll let it rest for a while now and look at it with fresh eyes in the next couple of weeks.
This is the finished oil study on paper. It was back to what I love to do and that is be adventurous with the subject. I love the surreal look of this piece and it's darkness. The trees have a lot of paint and I just kept adding paint with marks and dabs and strokes until I saw something that I was attracted to. It's a method of trying to capture and attitude or a particular suggestion of a look in a face or figure. The english painter, Frank Auerbach painted over and over a piece for sometimes weeks or eighty hours until he was happy with the look of a piece. He had the model sit the whole time too, and yet, the painting looked like it was done in five minutes on the surface. Under the surface, the layers of paint are staggering in thickness. But still all done for an attitude to the work.
Artist living and working in Melbourne, Australia. Paintings, works on paper. Mostly creates monotypes and monoprints