Painting Update: Pink Diptychs and Painting from Memory

In my previous post I shared one of the bromeliad paintings that was inspired by the epiphytes in the botany house. Here’s the finished diptych:

I feel that these work well as a pair, and that they have a good sense of ‘bromeliadness’ about them, despite being stylised and abstracted. I really enjoyed the pink colour on these. My paintings have been so dominated by green lately that it feels good to balance that with some vibrant, warm pink hues. The next painting I did was very abstract and made use of the same colour palette:

This one was on a throwaway bit of scrap paper, done as a quick loosening up exercise, but I really think it turned out well. It has an energy and vibrancy to it that is often only found in these quick messy works – the ones that I don’t fuss and fret over.

I had some cheap box canvases kicking around (really cheap, £1.30 each in home bargains) and decided to have another go at a diptych. Painting two at once stops me from fussing too much. It allows me to go back and forth between them and not get too caught up and overwork details. It also means that if one fails I can put it in a drawer and pretend that I only ever intended to paint one anyway, actually.

These were based on my favourite theme: leaves forming a screen or canopy. Gaps allowing light to come through, overlapping leaves letting more or less light pass though, varying the tone and saturation of the leaf colour. Unlike most of my previous work on this theme, I used no reference image but just let the shapes emerge intuitively. I also went all out with that pink again.

These were painted with acrylic, and the lines that suggest branches were drawn with coloured pencil

The other paintings I’ve done this week were using mixed media on paper. For these I wanted to carry on exploring working intuitively, with no source image or reference. They were based on memories of Mauritius. The one that is landscape-ish is vaguely based on the island of Ile aux Aigrettes -a tiny island where I spent 8 months as part of a team monitoring endemic birds. The other is based on the mangoes that were so abundant on the mainland. I ate so many mangoes.

This weekend I had a few hours to myself when I could have painted, but instead I felt almost paralysed by anxiety about Covid-19. What I was most anxious about was the seemingly completely inadequate response of the government. Unlike the rest of Europe, Britain seems to be doing almost nothing to prevent the spread of the virus. Instead of painting, I used my time to take a few trips to the shops to stock up the larder so that if I am stuck at home I can at least feed myself and my daughter (we probably have enough toilet paper to last a couple of weeks too). I also made use of Cass Art’s free postage offer to buy some more paper and canvas from their online shop. So if I do end up in a quarantine situation then I can at least distract myself by painting.

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