I have taken what could be described as a hiatus (I have seen this word used in art texts and I find it quite funny: a fancier way of saying ‘break’) from painting. When I was a teenager I loved to paint and worked on large scale oil paintings on hardboard. I think we as students were lucky to be given a good space to be able to work on a large scale at my school (thank you art teachers!). Below is a section of one of my abstract paintings, the only part that I still like from the whole piece. Working over many layers of paint to create depth and often scratching back into the surface to create new details and textures, these paintings would take months to finish. Since these days of painting, I have experimented in other mediums, such as film and installation and taken a more conceptual approach to art making rather than focusing on the formal qualities of a work.
Detail of an abstract oil painting on board from 2001
My last large painting was a gift for someone special. They wanted a painting of Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ for their hallway. I painted over an old crap painting experiment to do this and you can see the process by clicking on the word here.
My version of Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’: a gift for a friend
Being resourceful (and skint!) means that I can’t bear anything that has potential use to be thrown away. I saved a large stack of small pre-used canvases from being thrown in the skip at a school I was working in. The canvases were some of the student’s old work that they didn’t want to keep. After a few coats of gesso they were ready to use for my designs, but having a previous life as a different painting resulted in the texture showing the traces of the previous work. This underlying texture makes the faces and patterns of the new paintings look knobbly, but I don’t mind this. I could have sanded them down, but I have left the ghosts in there.
Orlando Weeks painting, first layers of paint
Working with acrylics and painting across about fifteen canvases at a time, I have been playing with colour, mixing in fluorescent paints. I have a commission to create some large paintings and these small works have been a great way to get back into painting and prepare for these larger works.
Toddler pushchair painting, first layers
Making mistakes is an important part of the art making process and having been so used to working with oils I forgot that acrylics can be mixed with water. There were many lumpy beginnings!
In some paintings I have chosen some favourite images to work from, focusing on portraits and animals. In other paintings I have been playing around with pattern and colour combinations. The above image is a similar pattern to a wall mural that I did for a student union bar redesign and can be viewed here.
Big headed kitten painting initial stages
I am hiding some of my works to keep them secret and a surprise from the people who will eventually receive them as gifts. They will be revealed later on the blog.
Ring tailed lemur painting almost finished
In my favourite animal pictures the animals appear to be staring out of the image and can hold your gaze (yes you the viewer), like this ring tailed lemur. I think the most successful staring animals will hypnotise you and drag you into their world!
Most of these paintings are still unfinished so check back to the blog in the future if you want to see them completed.
Orlando Weeks painting almost finished
These triangle pattern paintings are the result of many layers of paint. I found in the process that each time I added a new colour, it didn’t sit well with one of the colours next to it. It became a game to keep changing the colours until it worked for me.
Two finished triangle pattern paintings in acrylic
I am somewhat obsessed with colour and particular combinations. When I see a person in the street wearing a colour combination that appeals to me, I want to tell them and take their photo. I’ve stopped doing this to people because not everyone appreciates it!
Painting around the edges
With each of these paintings I have been working right around the edge so that all of the sides that are visible from all angles when hung on the wall are painted. Nevermind this ‘there’s only one plane of a canvas’ tradition!