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For a while I have wondered how to get some ‘edge’ into my painting. I have been searching for the slightly raw element, something (a bit) hard-hitting. It has been a bit difficult with seascapes. Exhibiting with other people often leaves me with the feeling that my paintings are just ‘pictures’ and (heaven help me) at times they are ‘pretty pictures’! This has led to quite a bit of despair, and up a few blind alleys. Ideas plucked from the air, ‘inspirations’ from sleepless nights, wild strikes…you probably know what I mean.
The other evening I read some notes by Roos Schuring on her blog. Roos is an intrepid painter who conducts plein air workshops on the beach. Her work is apparently simple, but her experience shows in assured brush strokes. Roos rises to the challenge of changing light, extreme weather conditions and all those other elements of the Great Outdoors.
The words that stayed with me were – firstly, use a bigger brush, and secondly something about the arrangement of blotches of colour on the picture surface. Sounds like that passage written by Maurice Denis, quoted here from Wikipedia:
In his famous proposal for the definition of painting, offered in 1890, he stated: “Remember that a picture, before being a battle horse, a nude, an anecdote or whatnot, is essentially a flat surface covered with colors assembled in a certain order.”
Aha! It is not about putting something edgy into a painting. It is about making great paintings. Surely that is the main thing?
So, on Monday I started to paint with a different approach. Not making the final work, just painting. Using a bigger brush and even bigger than that. I can imagine my old friend Dave Dallwitz (mentioned in an earlier post) saying about efforts to add some edge, “Don’t try to be tricky. Just paint.”
I had made a start on this painting in mid-September, before we had our family events (hatch, match and detach).
I have deliberately left the surroundings in. Beautiful weather!
We have had cold, wild windy spells since September, but on Monday conditions were perfect again.
While street artists have it in spades, I think looking for ‘edge’ has been a false goal for me. What do you think?