Working up from the recent tree painting, I’m undertaking a series of paintings using as references 360s images. The spatial distortion is what I am interested in here and the woodland theme ties to folk horror and its preoccupation with the monstrosity. Exaggeration is what drives the process. Photographs on which these paintings are based, as well as early block-ins, can be found below as indicative of the early stages of the process.
In order to improve my process here, I’ve included the photographs that I took as part of the project and I also did some research between painting focused on the task of introducing more varied brush marks as well as considerations around the composition. I looked painters’ work where larger more abstracted brush marks are used, such as that by Imogen Bone, as well as thinking more about the value of offset composition. The central composition for the treemouth image is a result of mirroring and perhaps I could usefully gone against that – something I should have done in the composition mapping phase – I had felt that work had gone on in photoshop but I realise I was working with that in a different medium and context. I will in the future try to build a cycle of research, experimentation, and making into my process more explicitly. More time spent on experimentation and research needed and less time on making a final painting (as was suggested in my SB1 feedback) This will be a takeaway that informs my sprint cycle for Study Block 2; a formula therefore for addressing issues of process.
Moving these images along, I decided that the composition wasn’t working well for the ‘mouth’ image above and the mouth wasn’t reading as trees. I decided to take that back and start again with a different composition playing more on spirals.
In addition more texture was needed for the foreground across the whole series. This new version is more spiral in nature, cued from the spiral construction of one of the other paintings in the series. I think this creates an interesting distortion and a more magical feel that complements the flickering ‘tasching’ short broken brush strokes that have emerged from the series and which draw from Monet’s method of painting light as an animistic and lovely force (Monet meet Turner’s spiral compositions therefore.
The image above also benefits from some experiments that I conducted with different methods of rendering tree bark and documented this as part of the painting process. I also went out to photograph different barks to get a sense of how they figure particularly for oak trees which are the subject of most of these series of paintings.
I then took what I thought was working from these experiments and applied this to create more visual interest and to sustain the sense of light and shadow flickering off objects, suggesting both a breeze (an invisible force) and giving animistic vitality to the objects/space.
Plan forward is to complete the works that are here for an upcoming show and then start a new sprint for the start of SB2.