Underpainting bondage

 

girl with doll (II) (underpainting)

The major preoccupation of the last couple of months has been to check the authenticity and integrity of my approach to painting. Am I overly influenced by other painting styles I’ve seen and admired? Or am I genuinely expressing my voice in my language? Without the constraint of a show, and “having” to deliver, what happens with the painting?

I know I work best when 

  • I’m not thinking
  • I’m working quickly
  • I’m properly organized in my head before I start after lots of thinking and drawing 
  • I leave the marks of the brush well alone

But there’s a tension between working directly and quickly and intuitively, and the planning and thinking. Larger pieces need both, and the larger surface area takes longer to cover at speed. A very large piece is challenging to work direct and finish in a day.

So a freely executed underdrawing/underpainting becomes very useful; as long as the tyranny of being controlled by the drawing doesn’t happen. And it’s incredibly hard to forget about the drawing once it’s there. Really, it calls for being obliterated and re-painted to retain a freshness of approach and that’s really really hard to do when you quite like the drawing. Proportions are easily lost, although usually you can fight your way back in, but then at a cost of freshness. Unless you scrape back. 

So this is what I’m faced with next time I go in to the studio on Friday. 

Be brave, be resolute, Gillian. 

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