Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Detail versus Colour

I sometimes think people don't understand when I say that I had to get rid of detail in my paintings so that I could go crazy with colour.  In my early years of getting into painting, I was trying to prove that I had 'skills' in my ability to represent something.  That went on for quite a while and I did some good paintings that way. But then it got boring.  The careful placement of brushstrokes was a very unimaginative exercise; it took a lot of time but it wasn't very difficult.  I started to get jealous of my friends who were abstract painters.  They could place large areas of innovative colour and shape on their canvases in ways that were exciting.  I started to think I would like to do that.  I wouldn't let go completely of my wish to connect to the real world; but I began to think I could do it differently.  I realized that our eyes and brains can easily put together images from very minimal amounts of information; a few flicks of a brushstroke can create quite a good description of a face, and so on with other things.  So I started to get brave.  I created simple shapes to represent basic elements in a landscape, a tree for example, or a road beside a field.  Then I could really play with colour!  I could put a red or a blue or a green anywhere I wanted.

Here are a few paintings to show you what I mean:

Foothills, 36x66", acrylic, 2013

Corner, 42x42", acrylic, 2013