Compare & Contrast & then?


Because the year is still (just) under a sixth old I’m fairly relaxed about the progress of the various bodies of work underway.  Besides several are nearing completion to my satisfaction (and who else is there to consider!).  These two, roughly the same size, around  40 x 60 cm., are amongst them.  It offers an opportunity to compare and contrast.  There are obvious differences in origins and in materials and methods.  As for the latter the picture above is on board prepped with hard sandable gesso (Golden) and using a fair bit of various mediums added to the thin washes of pigments.  For the one below 12 oz. cotton duck has a lightly thinned plain gesso with a goodly variety of acrylics, including heavy body applied.  Mind this one also has a substantial number of thinned washes involved.  In terms of content and form the first is part of the on-going Very Like Jazz series where a certain looseness of approach and call and response is the primary process drawing upon fifties modernist art and design tropes; whilst the second is rooted in observations and intimations of my experiences on our recent Cornish adventures.  Is there anything else to be extracted from their quite separate personalities other than to underline my inability to stick to one plot line? I’m not at all sure!


New paint for new pictures…


2014-03-31 14.37.19
new ‘Conversation Piece’ in progress…using traditional acrylic…so far

I wrote yesterday of how good it felt to be back in the studio after a rather prolonged absence. And one of the things that made it doubly so was that I had the pleasure of a recent order of new material to unpack and play with. The bulk of it was new gesso that enabled me to prime another of the large canvases I’m working on for my Conversation Pieces series but it’s the extraordinary sample packs of the simply revolutionary new ’24’ Golden acrylic paint that has got me really excited.

I’ve been using acrylics since the late 1960’s when Aquatec first arrived in the UK and it’s no exaggeration to say that this ’24’ paint will surely totally revolutionize painting in the next few years. I’m no scientist but apparently the formulation of this material actually captures light in some complex molecular way and sends it back to you in its purest form so that, for example, prussian blue is just, well, just more ‘prussian’ than ever before. I’ve already mentioned our recent trip to NYC and the superb show of new Ross Bleckner pictures…but what I didn’t mention and didn’t know at the time was that he had been allowed to ‘beta’ test this new formulation…thus giving those paintings a major ‘leg up’.

Ross Bleckner Doctor (Dr. Donald Kaplan) 84″ x 60″ oil/linen 2013

The ’24’ tag refers to 24 carats and there can be no doubt that this completely game changing paint will be a path finder for Golden. It’s rumoured that Liquitex are aiming to challenge it with a similarly complex diamond based formulation though many of us might say that at the price of quality acrylics nowadays the diamond content must already be pretty high. I can’t wait to get back in the studio this morning to try out ’24 Golden’.