Working with the Blues: Part 1

My passion for blue pigment has been part of my studio practice for decades.

What follows in the next posts is my blue works time line.  Painting and drawings.  It covers the past 30 odd years.  I skip around a bit,  but you’ll get the picture.  Chronology doesn’t fit my studio practice.

This piece was completed last year and the process was pure joy.  I loved mixing the blues.  The broad brush strokes of colour flowed off the pallette and onto the canvas.

‘The Deeps’  2016 acrylic and pumice on canvas  36 x 48″

‘Off Macaulay Point’  2010  oil pastel and graphite on paper  10 x 14″

Here’s a small mixed media from several years back.  It’s a plein air piece I did at Saxe Point Park.  Like most of my plein air work, it’s abstracted landscape with few direct references to the place, and based on an intuitive response to the site.

‘Blue Puzzle’  2014  acrylic and pumice on canvas  36 x 48″

This piece is like a puzzle.  It’s almost two pieces, which is typical of how I compose.  I create a compositional problem and try to solve it.  I used pumice on this canvas to create a sculpted effect at the top.

‘Love Potions No. 9’  2006 acrylic, graphite and pumice on canvas 8 x 10″

This small work dates back 12 years when I was going through my sea change.  It’s my favorite in the small series I did at the time.  It, and the other pieces in the series, are about falling in love with the alchemy of painting.  I have a sweet place in my heart for this little love potion.

‘Esquimalt Harbour’  2014 acrylic and graphite on canvas  8 x 14″

What’s consistent in these blue pieces is the horizon line and an underlying grid structure.  I plan each piece by laying out a rough composition. and then work intuitively.  3/4’s of the way through,  the process is the most difficult.  That’s when the two sides of my brain have an uneasy conversation.

In the end I compromise, or, someone wrenches the painting out of my hands.


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