Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Although all my final paintings for this project were effectively finished I still felt that one of them, "Compassion", could be interpreted better.

Co-incidently I recieved a letter from the OCA advising me of a change of requirements to submissions for assessment. Basically they were asking for all paintings to be presented flat, mounted on black or white card and held in an A1 portfolio. Initially this seemed to cause me a major problem since all my work has been done on hardboard panels. However, they do allow for students already engaged in this course to continue as they have been. Phew!

I had a choice whether to continue as I have been, or change to the new guidelines. It set my mind thinking: I like painting on hardboard panels because they give resistance to the brush or palette knife but, even when primed, they are a bit smooth initially for applying heavier impasto layers of paint. And they are fairly heavy for posting! I decided I should trial painting on sheet canvas pinned tightly to a supporting board which would give me both the resistance and some texture.

Returning first of all to my sketchpad I made yet another sketch study with colours that suggested compassion to me: soft greens, yellows, and blue, with a touch of gold/orange as well:

"Compassion Pastel Study", A5.

Then, with the already primed canvas pinned to the board I marked out my painting size (leaving some space all around for stretching if I so choose at a later date) and then masked it off with drafting tape to create a sharp edge if I decided to present it that way. Finally for this first stage I gave it a liberal acrylic undercoat of strong blue:

"Compassion: Stage 1", Oils on primed hardboard, 61x40.5cm.
With the undercoat dry I started with some tentative marks based on my pastel study.

Then with bold layers of impasto oils I blocked in my main shapes using palette knife technique pushing and pulling the paint around to satisfy some internal prompting:

"Compassion: Stage 2", Oils on primed hardboard, 61x40.5cm.

Finally, trimming around to show the final image:

"Compassion: Final", Oils on primed hardboard, 61x40.5cm.
This will be what is sent for assessment with the canvas sheet pasted to a board and perhaps with a mounting board matt.

That definitely is the end to this project and to my mind one of the most satisfying pieces of work I have done: the colours are good and the painting technique pleasurable and suited to my personality. I will now use this way of painting for all my future paintings in Project 5.

Onward and upward!


Melinda said...

Hi David,
I'm very, very impressed with all of the work you are doing. I've been coming by occasionally, checking on your process, oooo-ing and ah-ing, but not commenting. I'm sorry. I know, though, that you are posting with more confidence.

Your work is exceptional. I'm looking forward to visiting again.

Best wishes always!

daviddrawsandpaints said...

You are very perceptive, Melinda - my confidence in what I'm doing here has indeed grown particularly with this series of oil paintings. I now know more clearly what it is I am trying to achieve and recognise that it doesn't come about simply by dreaming about it. It takes hard, concentrated, work and that is exactly why I chose to do this Final part of the course: to become more focused; more consistent; and (hopefully) more professional. I think through concentrated hard work some of those attributes are beginning to happen!
Thank you for each of your visits and thank you for commenting as you have. You have always been very encouraging and that has helped me enormously!!!
I'll be having a rest for a wee while now, so I'll let you know when there is something to report!
Hasta la vista,

Brian McGurgan said...

All that meditative sitting you do is reflected nicely here, David. Your Compassion is well balanced and feels complete. The color is strong and rich, and those lighter values at the bottom give it a subtle sense of mystery. Enjoy your break!