This is over six thousand brushstrokes in blue-grey only, trying to maintain focus and consistency over five two-hour painting periods. The area was half covered by a light tone, while the remaining half was taken to a deeper tone. I then began to obliterate these with an even darker covering. I wanted to avoid creating rocks, rivers, clouds, streets and numerous other possibilities, but it is surprisingly difficult for the mind not to try to impose order. I stopped after ten hours, and I think of this painting as a complete record which, paradoxically, suggests infinite possibilities.
This was difficult. I wanted to see the impact of painting with just grey. As can be seen, I didn't manage to hold my nerve, some highlights crept in. But in the process I found out quite a bit on how to manage the tones within a monochrome. I feel this works - in fact I abandoned two previous efforts to reach this one. But guess what I intend to do next!
Awake at 1.30 and looking through the sketchbook. Here's a recent self portrait. It was just for practice - I wasn't planning on working on a portrait just now - but I thought it might be interesting, especially if, like me, you cannot sleep!
Just three colours - green, grey and brown, plus some yellow to vary the green. The plan of the green gradually infiltrating the grey was hard to do, and the result is very different from earlier images in this series - more structural. I like it though, and it is interesting that the technique can give rise to quite contrasting outcomes.
A change of palette gives this a rather different feel compared with previous paintings in the series. Those who have seen it are evenly divided between 'interesting new variation' and 'not quite sure'. Any thoughts appreciated...
Like earlier paintings in this series this is, at one level, somewhere close to six thousand brushstrokes, created in three two-hour sessions, with short breaks, and total focus on making the sequence of marks according to a few basic rules. But at the same time as being exactly that - a series of marks, or a record of 6000 actions - the combined image seeks a personal response from the observer.
This is twice the size of previous paintings in the series, and it was a challenge to work in watercolour over a larger area. There is more planning of basic palette and image structure, but the main aim is still to be immersed in the making of each mark.
This was much more difficult than I anticipated. With eight colours (three greens, two pinks, purple, yellow and orange) and no major colour blocks, there was far more manoeuvring to place each brushstroke. I am pleased with the outcome which balances and integrates the colours as I had hoped. Like others in the series, it sits in a territory where it can be seen as just brushstrokes and rules, and yet something more as well.