Insect with Cottage


170402 Insect with Cottage (2017) oil on canvas 169 x 97cm

This is a large painting, but I tried to paint it as if it was a pencil doodle. I still find it difficult to relax about making large paintings, because of anxiety about wasting expensive materials. Composition remains a problem, but I’m working on it. Everything in this picture faces to the left, even the house. I’d be more aware of that in future.

The greys shmooshed around on the surface remind me of some Christopher Wool paintings. I like the Tate Modern’s description of his painting Untitled (2007) (below):

“Wool’s marks hark back to the language of abstract expressionism while also recalling the look of white-washed windows in closed-down shops, or the stains on city pavements.”

Untitled 2007 by Christopher Wool born 1955

Christopher Wool Untitled (2007) enamel paint on canvas 320 x 244.2cm

170402 Insect with Cottage also reminds me of Tilo Baumgartel’s paintings and drawings, which are often reminiscent of fairytale illustrations. I like some of his work, but I’m glad my painting is more crudely finished. I wouldn’t want to finesse everything as much as he tends to.


Tilo Baumgartel Untitled (2011) charcoal on paper 45 x 70cm


3 thoughts on “Insect with Cottage

  1. Insect with Cottage works – and doesn’t suffer compositionally from the left facing aspect. There is enough balance in occupancy of the near field. You sometimes mention balance and that you add elements to address this. I wonder if you might be trying to put things into your paintings for the wrong reasons. Should you always be looking at what you paint from the point of view of a finished work with dimensions and boundaries? I’m looking at the Untitled Wool painting – it might be a section of larger piece. It is no doubt an instinct harder to resist where there are figures involved.

    It’s a conundrum if there is hesitation in the free use of materials springing from a concern with expense. How to get all that craft practice on a large scale.


    • What is the near field? “Should you always be looking at what you paint from the point of view of a finished work with dimensions and boundaries?” That doesn’t determine what I put into a painting, but it does determine what I remove, what I keep, and when I stop that editing process. I see what you mean about the Wool. Recently I’ve been experimenting with compositions that are pretty contained, vignetted even, but I don’t think this will always be the case. I try not to think about expense. My feeling is that the only way to make progress is to paint as if paint is free.


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