Wednesday 7 November 2012

8 by 8

I am a big fan of the Courtauld Gallery. It has a wonderful collection of Impressionist and Post Impression painting but on a recent visit I was particularly taken by the Seurat Sketches in Gallery 11b. There are half a dozen oil sketches all about 8 x 6 inches, mostly done as studies for bigger work. I found myself drawn to them, going back again and again, to study them. In these sketches Seurat is experimenting with techniques and working with a limited palette. I found them very fresh and exciting as works in their own right.

And it got me to thinking about setting myself a project; to create my own series of small oil paintings with a restricted palette using no brushes, just a palette knife.Using a palette knife stops me fiddling and allows me to work the paint impasto in an almost sculptural manner. I also opted for a square format, measuring 8 x 8 inches (20 x 20 cm.). The square format presents its own compositional challenges but opportunities too. So far I have got two paintings which cut the mustard, at least in my own terms, "Le Jazz" and "The Show Must Go On!". With Le Jazz there is a lot of scumbled and glazed colour. The physicality of the paint is more apparent with heavier impasto in The Show Must Go On! There are others, works-in-progress, and I am enjoying experimenting, very invigorating. Another six to go for my little "8 x 8" series. Watch this space!

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