Friday, July 27, 2012

Wreck No.11

oil on canvas 91x91cm

This is the last of the three-foot square oil paintings for a while. They take too long and I need to get more pieces churned out faster. We’re also rapidly running out of large shelf and wall space.

It’s quite a good painting though, with a very worked surface. The setting was taken, cows included, from a Google Earth image, and the trees on the horizon were relocated from neighbouring views. There were originally four cows in the group, but I disappeared one to open a space and help the movement away from the centre.

The wreck is entirely invented as it had to be made to fit the ditch. The idea is that the viewer enjoys the more attractive elements of the composition before becoming fully aware of the tank, and though it’s deliberately hard to decipher, it’s definitely ugly and nasty.

The light is very dramatic, and to make the sky seem as bright as possible the land elements are quite dark and have a very narrow tonal range. This made depicting the form of the ground quite difficult, but I think I’ve managed it fairly well. It was tricky to photograph, but the result is good enough to get a sense of what the painting is about.

I can be quite a harsh critic, but I am always harshest about my own work. So... the areas I’d prefer you to gloss over quickly? – The sky to the right of the tree (forced and possibly a touch too violet), some of the foliage in the trees (lacklustre), and the lumpen drawing of the two inner cows.

Areas that I’m quite chuffed with? The more luminous parts of the sky, the simplification of the bushes, and the very slight changes of tone and colour that take you over the undulations from foreground to distance...

...but my favourite bit is the subtle lighting where the cow on the right emerges from the shadow.

Even for me, that really does make all the grief worthwhile.