Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More Facial Feelings

This set all came in a rush, one after the other. It was as though all the previous work that had gone into this - pastel studies, collages, acrylic painting studies - had built up a head of steam and needed to burst out in free expression.

I was eager to get back out into my studio to carry on from where I left off the day before and so I started with this dark painting:

"Facial Feelings #3", Oils on primed hardboard, 61x40.5cm.
Not the actual mood I was in but imagined and felt. Dark greens, mauves and acidic yellow representing "Envy" or "Jealousy". A dark brooding cloud descends over the brow; cheeks are flushed green, with yellow all the way down to the gut contrasted with purple to heighten the effect and intensify this most negative of feelings. Here I was trying to make the face part of, and arising out of, the background by blurring the edges.

Very uncomfortable for me. I needed to lighten the mood before I sank into this dark horror myself!
With peaceful thoughts I now try to engender a calm "Serenity" with neutral soft greys, pale yellows, and light spiritual blues:

"Facial Feelings #4", Oils on primed hardboard, 61x40.5cm.
I was hoping, of course, to to create these peaceful feelings purely through the chosen colours but with definite facial features arising out of the paint I can't deny it and therefore allow it to happen.

Another change of mood now, not too dissimilar from the soft colours of "Serenity", but deeper to suggest the negative feeling of "Anxiety":

"Facial Feelings #5", Oils on primed hardboard, 61x40.5cm.
Black/dark background, blues, yellows, mauves, greens, and greys flitting across what has become a very definite 'face'. When I showed this painting to a friend she immediately declared that she couldn't look at it, it was too horrible for her. I, of course, was very pleased to get such an intense reaction!

But what about the King of Strong Emotion - "Anger"?:

"Facial Feelings #6", Oils on primed hardboard, 61x40.5cm.
This one definitely took on a new life of it's own. It started very similar to the original pastel study but as I painted new ideas began to emerge. I tried to be open to these new directions and simply followed where they led. This painting, in certain ways, has become less facial although there are various ways of looking at it as a face and a head. That's for you to determine, but I like the ambiguity. What I hope is not ambiguous is the feeling of anger - a hot head in confused and agitated mental state; a red mist descending; the blood rushing up from the lower and bursting out of the top of the head; a black background enveloping around.

Final painting to express "Fear":

"Facial Feelings #7", Oils on primed hardboard, 61x40.5cm.
The blood has drained from the face and there is a dark pit right down to the stomach!

This was at the end of the day the most fantastic painting session I think I had ever had. I was totally exhausted having worked from early morning right through till night but when the juices are flowing you just have to keep going. It's not as though I was having to start from scratch with each painting since most of the hard work had already been done with each of the pastel studies.

I am very satisfied with what I have achieved here and look forward to carrying this experience on to Project 5.

1 comment:

Brian McGurgan said...

A nice set here as well, David. I like the subtle, confident color compositions in the ones depicting serenity and fear. Interesting how little it takes to suggest facial features.