Medium: Oil, pigments & jos papers on canvas
Dimensions: 146 x 117 cm
This painting began as a commissioned piece, for a Christmas present for a client’s husband (no pressure then!). However, a few days in – very early in the process of making it – I happened to have some visitors in the studio, one of whom said “she’ll really love that!”. The kiss of death – or life – depending on how you look at it. Of course, after that, I worked really hard to obliterate the ‘lovely’ painting I’d apparently started. And then, and only then, could this painting unfold in its own way…
After covering the surface with luscious thick oil paint, I set about scraping and rubbing it all off again. Then I blurred it all, then used nearly a bottle of turps to attempt to get back to the canvas and glow of the gold paper on the first layer. I struggled and went back layer after layer. I turned it round and upside down. I looked at it in the studio, then evicted it to the garden (!) to get another perspective. And all the while it grew on me… and then I placed smaller stretcher frames over bits of it to see if it could be chopped up and restretched into smaller paintings… but something stopped me. Finally, I tumbled upon a pot of artist’s medium that could be mixed down into a glossy varnish. Haha! that was when I started smiling about this one and I knew exactly what to do next – when the varnish hit the multiple layers of history that this surface had been subjected to over the last two weeks, it brought them all out, enriching the colours, textures and that evasive gold shine that I’d lusted after. And then, a beautiful stick of purple chalk that my colorist friend Anna gave me, just happened to be there waiting – those black ink swirls I’d attempted to erase, I now picked out, but with a finer touch.
As I predicted, my client chose the other painting to take home, but this one is a grower – it looks different each morning depending entirely on the degree of light in the room – it shines, it glows, and it entrigues me still…
If you’d like to talk about commissioning a painting yourself, please contact Michelle here.