Tag Archives: canvas

Distress Call : A Portrait

Along with colleagues, I’ve been helping to soak up a stressful situation at work lately. It’s been hard – trying to look out for one another and look out for myself too. Over the weekend I ran and gave away some art, spent some lovely time with family too, yet in the background, the stress remained.

On Saturday night, still looking for a release, I opened a few tubes of paint and using only my fingers, I painted a portrait. Portraiture is alien to me, as is not using a brush, and I struggled to make an image.

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Unhappy with what I’d made, I nevertheless left the portrait to dry overnight.

On Sunday I felt no happier with the work in its original form, and I returned to it. After a few more fingerfuls of paint, here’s where I got to.

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I shared this image on Facebook and was a little surprised by the favourable responses. I had been looking to paint a distressed face – what I see is something more stern, more resolute. Although I felt a little happier with this adapted version, I was still mindful to overpaint this canvas, obliterating the distress call.

The day went on. I slowly relaxed, and as I did – I felt closer to the image on the canvas. By Sunday evening I had decided that this canvas should not be overpainted, not for now at least.

This last photo shows the canvas framed by shadow in the Monday morning sunlight. In this photo you can really see the scars in the face, which are a coincidence left behind from a previous painting onto which I painted this one.

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My distress call will remain in the studio for now. I certainly feel a lot better for having him around.

Footnote

I mentioned the distress call portrait is painted over another image. I thought you might be interested to see what lies beneath…

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Elements of this earlier work were initially inspired by a visit several years ago to the Picasso Museum in Malaga. A friend remarked, ‘the [earlier] painting had me thinking about how Picasso and others around the turn of the 20th century were inspired by African artefacts and masks. Maybe they were meant to be together…?’

What’s In A Name?

It was Carole’s birthday a few weeks ago, and as part of our celebrations, we went to an event called Paint Jam. The session had a David Bowie theme, and after being led through a few simple introductory exercises, we were given a canvas and encouraged to experiment.

I made this picture using acrylic paint. First I applied the paint using a wooden canvas spacer. It felt odd not using a brush at first, and I began to enjoy the more random nature of how the paint got from the implement to the surface.

Once I had created the grid of rectangle shapes, I took a broad brush, wet it, and dragged the watery brush across the surface in a single zigzag swoop. Once the paint dried I took the canvas home where I varnished the centre band of the canvas. I applied three coats, and when it catches the light, the shine looks really good.

What to call this work? I’ve been pondering this question for days, and unusually all I get in return is silence. So I asked friends to suggest a title for this painting…in all I got almost 50 responses. Here they are, along with a few subsequent exchanges between me and some of the kind contributors.

Eva-Maria Griese: Bowie, flash, lightning…? That’s pretty obvious though

Doug Shaw: Perhaps no surprise, this work was started at a Bowie themed evening, and I finished it at home.

Grahame Baker: Hi rise cheer?

Doug Shaw Nice. I see where you’re coming from. I enjoy offering things like this up for opinion and ideas. I’ve been stuck on what to call this for a while and these exchanges help free things up.

Victorio Milian: “Rainbow blitzkrieg”

Doug Shaw: The Ramones would be proud of you.

Stephanie Barnes: Have you tried asking it what its name is?

Doug Shaw: That’s the only conversation me and the painting have been having for weeks. I figured we’d got stuck and needed counselling, hence the ask!

Stephanie Barnes: I have three thoughts: Shazam (which is probably trademarked or copyrighted), breaking the monotony, or making a path

Doug Shaw: Great stuff. The path idea has also surfaced on Instagram and I am drawn to it. Thank you.

Heather Bussing: Sky scrape

Doug Shaw: How about that!? I only used one brush stroke in the whole thing, and it was quite nerve wracking for me, making that big mark right at the end. All the rest of the paint was applied by scraping the surface with a wooden canvas stretcher.

Elliot Merrony: Bowie x Physical Graffiti

Colin Newlyn: Ziggy played guitar

Doug Shaw: When the kids had killed the man I had to break up the band.

John Sumser: BrickSit

Doug Shaw: 😂 Love it!!

George LaRocque: Shazam

Mary Faulkner: Winner!!!

Michael Heller: #HROSBrit cc: Lars Schmidt

Philip Dodson: Postage stamps from Mars

Jason Seiden: Career Path

Sharlyn Lauby: “Wake up call”

Kirstie Johnson: “Bolt”

Jo Cook: Zig a zig ah. Sorry, made me laugh 🙂

Fred Eck: How about the Shaw Slash!

Grahame Baker: The Shaw slash redemption?

Fred Eck: Love it!!!

Tony Mason: Electric red white and blue……

Annabelle Lambert: Bowie tower

Mark Farquar: Turner For the love of Zorro.

Paula Turner: Lighting is……..

Bina Briggs: Ziggy Stardust! X

Richard Martin: Loot Chute

William Tincup: Schutzstaffel?

Marco Fandango: Picture no. 53

Matthew Stollak: Waffle Sevens

Josh Rock: “2 Minutes for Slashing”

Ade Bird: Rest in pieces.

Gavin Collinson: Chair in the window.

Padraic Doorey: Cafe Rouge-baix

Claire Boyles: Dot dot dash

David Lambert: ‘s grate

Lesley Dodson: Zorro escapes!

Kirstie Tribe: Carpet burn

Steve Browne: I’d go avant garde and call it McTavish on the Plain !!

Heather Kinzie: Just a Splash

Kevin W. Grossman: Shazam-skiddish

Paul Hebert: For the bin

Barry Flack: “Four storeys high”….say what you see…..

Jayne Harrison: Crossing Dimensions, or Choices, or Infinite Possibilities

Shayna Joson: Use Your Vote

Circle Indigo: Aladdin Insane

Meg Peppin: Zag

Diane Taylor-Cummings: Seven

I’m grateful to everyone for the suggestions. I’m still not yet sure what to call this piece of work, and what’s been really useful so far about all this feedback, is that it’s opening my mind to possibilities I hadn’t previously seen. Thank you. I’ll update this post once a name is chosen.

 

 

Wandle II – The DNA of a river

I enjoy my walks along sections of the River Wandle, and after my recent abstract painting ‘River Wandle‘ sold within minutes of going into my Etsy shop – I decided to revisit the idea.

This time I have scaled up from an A4 size work to this much larger 20″ x 16″ canvas.

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I really like how this work has turned out and I am grateful that Carole suggested I leave some spaces in among all the colour. I’ve subsequently entered this painting and my drawing titled ‘Bookcases‘ into the 2016 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. My entries are among a further 11,998 pieces of work so this is a long shot – but you’ll never get picked if you don’t enter. Fingers crossed!

Moon Over Telegraph Track

I walk along Telegraph Track a lot. The track runs across part of Little Woodcote Estate, and is a small slice of the country in suburbia.

Christmas Moon

Sometimes I walk the track at night, and the trees and the moon have been forming pictures in my mind for a few weeks now. Here’s an interpretation of those pictures, in the shape of an acrylic painting on canvas, 16″ x 12″.

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I’ve really noticed how different this painting appears in a variety of lighting conditions. The photo above was taken outdoors in the daytime, this one was taken inside in the evening.

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This artwork is available to purchase in my Etsy shop. £5 from the sale proceeds will be donated to the Arts Emergency charity.

Tricolore Agitant

An artistic response to the latest horror in Paris. A sea of French flags, waving.

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Acrylic on canvas – 40cm x 50cm

This item has been sold in support of the Arts Emergency charity. Included with the large canvas is a sketch of the French Tricolore – acrylic on paper using a palette knife.

Tricolore

Growing Pains – Arizona

I’m currently experimenting with scaling up my work. I often work between postcard size and A4 and having enjoyed wrestling with something a little bigger recently, I decided to go one step further. I bought a box of 20 inch x 16 inch canvases, opened the box, took a deep breath and dived in.

I tore into this experiment quite hastily. So far I have five works in progress and having paused for breath, I confess I’m not quite sure where I’m going…yet. I will share them all with you soon, and right now, here is the one that is currently catching my eye.

Arizona

The working title is Arizona – there’s a sense of heat emanating from the work.

I applied the orange as a watered down acrylic wash. This is the first time I’ve watered down acrylic and I like the way a few heat spots have appeared on the surface. I didn’t want complete coverage, so I’m happy that the brush dragged a little and allowed a few grains and bumps of canvas to show here and there. The blocks are painted in titanium white.

I can’t decide if this is finished or not. I’m torn between enjoying the simplicity and feeling there is something missing. I may hang it at home for a while and see how my feelings towards the picture develop. More to follow soon

The Art of Parties

I was recently invited to a friend’s party, and decided to paint an abstract piece of art for the host. I got in touch to find out her favourite colours, and after receiving the response, ‘purple and orange,’ I got to work. I decided to paint onto a 16 inch x 12 inch canvas, that’s a large surface as far as I’m concerned. Here’s phase one of the painting.

Phase One

Next I added some orange. Ouch! What an awful clash.

Phase Two

I stared to get a bit lost after this. First I applied a layer of translucent white to the main body of the canvas, to tone down the background. That didn’t work so I then applied a thick layer of purple over the orange and scraped off the excess to reveal hints of the colour beneath. I like the effect but the overall composition still isn’t working. It was the night of the party and I had to leave an incomplete painting to one side – there was no way I was giving this to anyone in it’s current form!

Phase Three

The party was good fun. I returned to my work and things deteriorated.

I was lost, and in a mess. I was just about ready to give up, then I decided to take the solid block of colour back to basics. Out came the titanium white.

Phase Six

The intensity disappeared – and then Keira offered a suggestion, ‘how about blue?’ How about it indeed. I loosely mixed up some blue and some translucent white, which I then dragged the mixture over the titanium white in short, blocky strokes.

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Finally! Several hours after I started – and with some valuable assistance, I got the painting somewhere I feel happy with. The recipient has seen a photograph and has approved, so it’s now signed and in the process of being delivered.

What have I learned? I tried too hard to work the two favourite colours into one piece – they weren’t getting along. I also learned that when using acrylic paint – you can salvage a disaster. Had I been making this in water colour – I expect I would have abandoned ship and settled on something else as a present long ago.