Friday, February 20, 2009

A Branch of Blooms

We were in Spain in October last year (2008) and I realised I just never learn! I hadn't packed any paints or canvases ... and yet again had to go and spend precious holiday money on painting equipment, so that I could sleep at night and not fret that I couldn't paint.

We were staying in a really great cottage in the hills outside the village of Torres, not far from Mancha Real, and about 40 minutes drive equi-distant from Granada and Seville. The weather was fantastic and the scenery breathtaking. Inspiring indeed.

This painting, 'A Branch of Blooms' was begun in Torres and completed in Galway. Sadly, it only lived in my gallery for two months before leaving me for the Cill Rialaig Pre-famine Village Residency Gallery in Ballinskelligs, Co. Kerry, in the West of Ireland - where I spent two wonderful weeks at the end of January 2009. I miss it and wish I had taken better photos of it. Artists always battle to say goodbye to paintings!

The background was poured on. I mixed the paint with a puddle of good artist's turpentine in a wide, shallow, recycled mussel tin (from the supermarket in Mancha Real - I'm addicted to mussels!) Holding the canvas at a 45 degree angle over a pile of newspaper and old towels I used a 2 inch wide brush to apply a generous amount of the diluted paint on the ridge at the top of the canvas, allowing it to run down just more than half-way across the canvas. There's a bit of additional paint added further down to join a few of the rivers of paint but otherwise not too much fiddling was necessary to get the paint to go where I wanted it to go. I seem to remember that this background had a wash of pale blue, a wash of green and a third wash of the darker blue.

The vase and flowers were painted on, impasto, using only various sizes of palette knives.

It really excites me to use pure colours put together, side by side, or one on top of the other, on the palette knife ... and then to see how they make their patterns, lines and relationships for themselves on the canvas.

Take care 'til the next painting take me on impulse! :-)