Broken Mirror Smoker


170611a Broken Mirror Smoker (2017) oil on canvas 100 x 85cm

Not nuts about this one. Colour, brushwork, composition, drawing – it all makes me think of amateurish children’s book illustration. Back to the drawing board.

This was based on a small sketch. I think I just didn’t have any good ideas about how to translate it into colour, or into paint. On the other hand, I think sometimes I learn most from trying to make paintings that I don’t yet know how to. This one is making me want to look again at colour theory.


170521 Broken Mirror Smoker Sketch (2017) pencil on paper 12.5 x 11cm


2 thoughts on “Broken Mirror Smoker

  1. Hey, it’s a worthwhile image to have essayed. The pencil work is certainly more accomplished. Apart from your paintwork on canvas, the composition doesn’t progress from the initial, captivating inspiration. Maybe each partial iteration could have done more than simply split the main image. But the upfront attraction is so strong, it’s a while before these observations occur.


    • Yeah, I’m choosing drawings that are open to experimentation with colour – clothes that might be any colour, large expanses of unidentified tonal shifts, etc. In regard to colour, I’m so clueless but I can’t resist crashing about speculatively, running before I can walk. It reminds me of the game Cluedo. You know how some people play systematically by making accusations using two known details and one unknown variable, and other people make random accusations where they don’t know if any of it is right: the person, the weapon, the room – but they might strike it lucky or learn something. The latter is how I feel about myself use of colour at this stage. It’s always an accumulation of almost random uninformed choices to see if any of it turns out to be good. Sometimes, like in this case, almost everything about the colour looks bad to me, and it’s odd to finish a painting and think “yes I made this, and no it doesn’t reflect my taste at all”. Hopefully the more I do it, the less random the choices will become. I used to feel that way about composition, and now, very gradually, I have more of a sense of what I’m doing compositionally, at least to my own taste.


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