Thursday, April 9, 2009

Abstract Painting #2

Alright, bear with me on this one - it's part of a process and is not always as good as you would like it to be!

As I contemplated my "free" abstract created the day before (posted yesterday) I thought about where abstract images came from. Since I am presently searching (or rumaging around so to speak) in the depths of my subconscious for images that express how I am feeling I consider that there are two ways of revealing them: firstly by painting directly onto a board or canvas, without design; and secondly by making a preliminary free-form sketch, as Franz Kline (and also as Patrick Heron) did, on paper first. I will return to both Kline and Heron later, but for the time being, and perhaps taking fright at working spontaneously on a fresh board, or simply feeling the need to document this for the benefit of the OCA, I turned my attention to making small "thumbnail doodles". Using a small cardboard aperture and with closed eyes and brain dis-engaged, I would let the pen wander within it at random. I call these my "sub-conscious musings" and have often made images in this way, some quite successful I may add.

But not always.

What emerged was this image which I decided to work up into a painting:

Abstract Painting #2, acrylics on hardboard, 53.5x36cm.

At the time I was pretty pleased with this thinking that I was once again mining that deep seam of possibility that had already generated some interesting images. As time has passed, however, I knew that I could do much better than this.

Although the painting is not really what I am looking for it did point me in the right direction. It reminded me somewhat of paintings by the English artist Roger Hilton (1911-75) who created some wonderful abstract paintings during the 1950's and 60's.

While I was reading about Gillian Ayers and her "free" abstracts I found that she was great friends (if not to say always friendly!) with Hilton, who you might gather is one of my favourite artists, not because he had a name for being rude you understand, but because his paintings fill me with wonder and awe.

Here are a few snippets from the book "Roger Hilton; The Figured Language of Thought" by Andrew lambirth (publ: Thames & Hudson, 2007) which speak out to me:

"...the world of feeling and in ideas".

"the inner riot".

"his colour...has both a spacial and emotional identity..."

"Hilton ...relies so intently on his nerves and instincts and intuitions".

[my italics in each of them]

This research opened up my imagination in a way I hoped for but could not have forseen.

And that, children is enough for tonight. Next episode tomorrow -IF you are good!

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