Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Much Neglected

I mean of course the blog!  For the past month I have been preparing for doing some very large contemporary pieces with a series of titles based loosely on WW1.  These will be a mix of painting, gilding and acrylic transfers of maps, photographs and other ephemera.  In between I have done a little oil painting and on 22 Sep enjoyed a day out in Oxford painting with David Pilgrim and David Bachmann.

Radcliffe Camera From Catte Street 10x8 (unfinished)

I felt very rusty and slow doing this and only had time to put a few strokes in to indicate the height of the figure.  I think the subject might repay another attempt when I have more time.  I made a better job of Queen Victoria, high up in her niche on Christchurch's Tom Tower:

Victoria Statue, Tom Tower 10x7

Finally - and much to the disgust of my two illustrious companions ('cheesy', 'chocolate boxy', etc) I chose the White Horse front in Broad Street:
White Horse, Broad Street

I am always rather depressed by the thought that I become so out of practice in just a few weeks!  I did have another chance to get out in early October but only managed this tiny view of the reed beds on Otmoor:

Reed Beds, Otmoor 9x7

In preparing for the big pieces I have been using an acrylic transfer technique to transfer printed images and text.  I am some way from nailing this completely but here are some of the test pieces I have produced so far:

Madonna Of The Front-fighters 11x9

The gold leaf shows up poorly in the photo but it catches the light beautifully as you move in front of the image.

Notre Dame des Tranchées 10x10

This shows the basic start point - two images, one of them some text, both transferred using acrylic binder onto acrylic.  This one will have WW1 'trench folk' applied around the Madonna figure.  What I like about this technique is that ensures more permanence than simply collaging the images.  At the same time it is more difficult because the images have to be mirrored and then applied without any accurate means of 'registering' them.  I am experimenting with wetting the paper from the back, which makes it translucent enough to place the image without affecting the strength of the acrylic-to-acrylic bond.  Francesca Bex has told me how to do acetone lift prints so that might be the next set of experiments!

The biggest pieces I am planning are called 'The Many Men So Beautiful' and 'Exeunt Omnes (Alarums and Excursions Off)' and they will take up quite a few Winter evenings, as will 'You Are Not Your Stuff', based on a wall I saw in Moss Side, Manchester - now sadly demolished to make way for new flats, and 'A Quiet Day At The Knicker Factory' based on my experiences in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.