Dirty brushes


170611e Pthalo Blue (2017) oil on canvas 100 x 75cm

This is a reaction against the cartoonish saturated colours of the previous painting. Dirty colours, mostly from not washing the brushes when changing colour, keeping the tone steady enough to describe the form, but letting the hue crash about haphazardly. Even with the glasses on, my perception of hue is nowhere near as sensitive as normal vision, so it’s easy for me to accept jarring shifts in hue (many of which I probably can’t see at all) and allow tone to dominate the way I read the image.

This was painted impatiently, and some of it quite thickly. I prefer this surface to the previous painting. I know some post modernist painters have questioned the idea of gestural brushwork as “expressive”, making it out to be just another technique that acts as a sign. I don’t agree with that. I think it can function in that way, but when I paint like this it’s not to signal expression, it’s because I’m in an agitated state, and the result is a record or trace of that agitation.


170611e Pthalo Blue [detail] (2017) oil on canvas


8 thoughts on “Dirty brushes

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