This painting developed quickly and changed dramatically from the initial placing of colour, so I thought I would show how it came about. Nearly all my paintings start from a tiny snippet found almost randomly in a magazine picture. I never buy magazines – except the occasional art mag – so rely on superseded ones being passed on. They can be fashion magazines, gardening, household, anything, the content is not relevant – I am looking for shape, form and colour, and find it in advertisements and editorial images. My technique has refined over the last few years, and I now have a large folder filled with pages that have neat little squares pasted on to them, arranged in a grid. This is purely for the satisfaction of the way they look, there is nothing more to it than that.
I have made a mask from a piece of cardboard with a 4 x 4 cm (1.5 x 1.5 in) square cut in it, and I move it across any images until I find an intriguing composition, then I cut it out and stick it down. A very satisfying exercise when the brain is feeling in need of a rest. It is very random. Sometimes I go back through and find interesting images I completely missed the first time.
Starting a painting I search through my snippets for an image that appeals, then do a very rough painting, marking the forms loosely with a thin brush then slapping colour on quickly. Once I am satisfied with the basic composition I then start refining the image. This is where it gets interesting. Occasionally the original snippet is identifiable by the end, but mostly the painting has taken on an entirely new character, dictated by brush marks or small changes that become bigger changes. Sometimes it works better turned upside down. I am not particularly faithful to the colour in the original image, it is inspiration only.
So, below, first is the snippet that inspired the above painting (you can see bits of the other ones on that page) then the quick rough placement of colour. This eventually turned into the painting at the top. (I struggled a little with a title for this, but to me it suggests a plant in a dark and serious place. Patti Smith provided the title!)
Oil on mdf board, 30 x 30 cm (12 x 12 in).