Friday, November 1, 2013

SEPIL Commission 003 - The Big Wheel and Excellent Preparation

The Big Wheel - oil on oil primed linen canvas

There isn't just one way to tell a story, and every story has many different aspects to it, many different perspectives. The truth is often times a very complexed thing - not fixed but elusive, ephemeral as time moves on.

As I mentioned in my first Blog post on this project. The inspiration or genesis for this commission was the body of work created by Sean Keating around the development of the Ardnacrusha power plant. This 1920's hydro energy project became known as 'the Shannon Scheme'.

Sean had his way of illustrating a story, his personal preferences and background.
I have my way also. Unlike Keating, there will be little stylizing, but through the work I have found myself more interested in 'the raw mechanics of the thing'.

During the painting process thoughts come to me through the process of creation. These thoughts are often times reflections on the hidden symbolism which might exist in the work or scene captured.

Painting is transformative, and I feel reveals itself both intentionally and unintentionally.
Distilled through the nervous system of the artist and viewer pointing at some truth.

To get to a place like this where an intimate dialogue begins between the artist and the work of art, where ideas and philosophies which might underpin the work start to come to the foreground there has to be quite a bit of preparation and time working at the canvas.

The twelve or so paintings I am currently working on for this project have become a celebration of drawing, paint and surface quality. By using an array of various techniques throughout I feel I can better illustrate my concepts and ideas around this project.

Below, a detail from the painting above, as well as a couple of  images of my studio space to give you an insight into the type of preparation, research and raw materials I need to have ready in order to get 'the wheels in motion'.

I can say now without a shadow of a doubt that 'the big wheel is now rolling' on this project.

An image of my studio wall from a couple of months ago with my blank canvases at the ready.

Sean Keating used a gridding system with quite a number of his photographic references. I decided that rather than using the common grid I would study the 'armature of the rectangle', a classical system which dates back to Pythagoras' theories of harmonic divisions and compositions in music and art. I am now endeavoring to apply this knowledge to my paintings to help strengthen their foundational composition.

And a very neat and important invention - my portable palette!



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