March is the month of my birthday! After finishing my last piece early March my 30th birthday had arrived and I got whisked away from my studio for about a week. I had started working the circular support I made 2 blogs ago, but the birthday interruption presented itself as a healthy break and helped me to return to the work more focus and refreshed.
Here is a photo of my most recently finished painting, I have been working on this for about 3 weeks excluding the time it took to make and prime the painting support. It is oil on circular wood panel about 130cm in diameter:
Here are the progress photos this finished painting:
I began with a couple of rough sketches the first sketch is just a scrappy thumbnail with a small notion of the pieces composition with small notes expanding ideas of some elements of this sketch.
I then did second sketch to refine the figure of the girl puppet from the first sketch.
This second sketch is still quite rough, I use this sketch to trace up the enlarged composition using an 'artograph' a projection tool that uses a mirror, light bulb and a big lenses to project and focus the image. The photos below show the trace up, at this stage I am quite messy with the image as I am still working out it's composition. I rub parts out with a large sponge and redraw bits until am happy with how the figure and shapes feel to me.
The next stage is to refine the drawing. The painting support had been painted with a base of powder blue, as the drawing developed the charcoal seemed to have a warm brownish glow against the calm blue, I really liked this aspect in the piece this inspired me to start pondering a colour scheme for the painting.
Part of the drawings composition was a little more technical as the cog motif had to be symmetrical to make them convincing.
I like the motif of cogs I use them here as a depiction of energy in the universe moving, where mind and spirit meet. The characters with the spotted tentacles represent new energies of ideas and reflections. They come in and cling making adjustments to the universal systems at play. I like using dense patterns with lots of circle shapes also depicting this psychedelic motion.
I made a simple card stencil with cog notches on it in two sizes. I used this to aid my drawing, using a drawing pin and string much like a compass to draw the circular form of these larger shapes.
Once the drawing was complete I fixed it with clear matt Acrylic based spray varnish. This locks the charcoal in so I can begin to paint the image with oils.
The next stage is the painting stage. I started this time with the face of the puppet girl then slowly working my way out to the edges until the painting was done, building up transparent washes of colour and gradually added sharp edges, flat colour and details with a fine brush.
Here are some close-up photos of the finished painting:
I wanted to start painting again, I have really enjoyed the charcoal work recently but I felt I needed to add some colour here are the process photos of my most recent piece, still without a title but for now I'll call it Heart Strings.
With my new wooden heart shaped support in pastel pink, I started to sketch out an under drawing for the painting with charcoal:
I got this far with my first idea and decided that I diddn't like the composition, I felt it needed somthing simpler and a bigger charicter. So I washed off the charcoal with a wet spounge and repainted the pink. Although it was only drawn with charcoal and I had washed off all the pigment, the charcoal had left behind a brown stain that took 3 coats of pastel pink to eventually cover...
I started again once the pink paint was completely dry.
When I was happy with the drawing, I fixed it with a thick coat of Acrylic based matt spray varnish, this has to be done with the drawing flat down on a surface or floor otherwise the varnish will run and the drawing will run with it!
The charcoal pigment bonds with the varnish and blurs it slightly giving it the look of a wet medium. Once dry the charcoal is completely sealed under the varnish and ready to be painted onto.
I used oil to paint the piece, building up transparent washes of colour and gradually added sharp edges, flat colour and details with a fine brush. I love the way the oil paint lushes up the surface of the piece.
New Painting Supports:
Here are some process photos...
I Started these pieces knowing I wanted to work on various shapes, I like the notion of the image being framed in a new way.
I'm using half inch ply-board, its easy to cut with a electric jigsaw.
I drew the large circle by making a make-shift compass with a drawing pin and string, for the heart shape below I made a half heart stencil from cardboard this helped me keep heart shape symmetrical.
The wooden board had some imperfect texture to it, some of which was quite deep, this is normal with board like this.
After lots of sanding with an electric sander. I first used a 3D acrylic paste to prime and fill the surface imperfections of the new shape. I used a plastic card to apply this, when this was fully dry I sanded the surface again and began to prime the supports with an acrylic based primer.
I used a small sponge roller to apply the primer this gave the surface a soft grainy tactile texture much like an interior wall that has been painted this way.
The priming usually takes about a day to complete as the layers of primer have to be dry before the next coat can be applied.
Three coats of primer later... I then painted the new supports in pastel pink and blue acrylic paint. <3 end...
Drawing Progression Photos
In the studio drawing still, these are the beginning of my new body of work 'Who Pulls The Strings' for exhibition this July at 'White Lady art' gallery in Dublin.
The show is a dreamscape of images featuring puppet-like characters. Here are some progress photos of my latest charcoal drawing for the show.
Starting of the drawing, notice the roughness of the sketch the whole piece is started like this, it happens very quickly the rest of the time will be spent polishing and refining the drawing...
I wanted her to be siting in a feasible space and her upper half exiting into the dreamscape like two worlds meeting.
Half way there...
Close up detail, spoons in her hair...
Close up detail...
Close up detail...
Here on the studio wall to get a indication of the drawings size. The sheepskin is nice to sit on while drawing and yes now it is so dusty covered in charcoal dust! must shake it outside soon :)
Finished <3 !
I'm currently making a new body of work for my next solo exhibition in Dublin this July at ‘White Lady Art’ . The Show will run from July 4th – 27th 2013.
This new body of work will be paintings, drawings and sculpture with a Jungian theme.
Jung believed that, to be psychologically healthy, one must strike a balance between the demands of society and what we really are.To be oblivious to one’s persona is to underestimate the importance of society, but to be unaware of one’s deep individuality is to become society’s puppet.
‘Who Pulls The Strings?’ is an exhibition based on this Jungian notion, an exploration of narratives set in a psychedelic dreamscape of puppet characters. The characters are contemplative of the artists own individuality and the dark forces that filter in from a vast collective unconsciousness that sways them from discovering who they really are.
Here are some photos from my studio in Leitrim a sneaky peek at the development of 2 new works.
In the studio
The rough sketchy stage
Finished 1st work :)
Studio wall the image is roughly sketched out
Tools of the trade ;)
Finished 2nd work :D