Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Crash crash crash 2009

So at the end of 2008, like thousands of others in Ireland, and across Europe, I no longer had a job , so I had to go to sign on , talk to my local credit union ( who were very helpful , helped me reschedule the small loan I'd taken out a few months previously - for the life of me I can't think of why more people don't use credit unions ) and sit down and think what I wanted to do age 40 with the economy rapidly tanking. The only rational choice I could think of was to start painting full time , I had a small statutory redundancy payment coming , and with that I bought paint , tools , brushes , easels , and set too , I just sat in my mobile for the first few months drawing and painting.

Through David Hockney's research I'd heard of the camera lucida, and doing some research on it I worked out a way to build one using one way glass. I had decided to start trying to make my work more accessible , and thus ( I naively thought )more sale-able . so it had to be more like 'traditional' painting and that meant more 'realistic' and the camera lucida gave me a way to achieve that.

 I figured out that the best way to use  the camera lucida I had built was to draw in white on a black background - for instance :

The first results at the beginning of the year were quite crude , but having looked at De Chiricos work I realized that you could make good work , with limited drawing skills ,as long as the original idea or setup stood up . I'd committed myself to making what I call psychological still lives , each object within the painting has a meaning to me and within the painting interacting with the other objects , so there was a story , but the painting itself would be painted as a traditional still life .

The horse at midnight

I realised that the simplest way of working would be to set up the still life and lighting ( lighting being very important), create the initial drawing , photograph the drawing then use a computer screen to display the photograph and then work from the screen . There would be no changing in light as the day moved on , no trying to guess colors , like creating a carefully controlled environment in which I could carefully work out color , composition and painting. This was the technique I went on to use up until 2012 with variations ( sometimes I'd work from a 10x8 printout , sometimes digital projection , sometimes a drawing projector for larger work .Though it took me a while to get the hang of it , and black is quite a strange color to paint on to .

The irresolute nature of time

In the shadow of a red plane.
 So I thought , not a bad start to the year - finally I could commit myself to painting full time without distraction .

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