George Shaw paints empty, sometimes derelict suburban spaces. To me the emptiness in one image is somewhat unsettling, but not as much as when you see these works together. One painting with no human or animal like could be coincidence, but seeing multiple together makes the atmosphere feel much more ominous. Based on this I am considering presenting my work as a series which is meant to be seen together.
His paintings also have hints of someone having been there relatively recently, such as graffiti, litter, a pathway worn into the ground by frequent use or a garage door left open. There always seems to be some nature creeping into Shaw’s paintings, even those seeming to be focused on the various buildings, there are always bushes, trees showing from behind them or an area of grass, which is something that has been present in my paintings of man made structures, with plant life growing on or around them. nature always creeps back in.
Within Shaw’s paintings there is a very sophisticated use of light, even in the very dark paintings you can see the light in the background creating some very dramatic contrasts.
These two paintings feature much more nature, with the man made structures hiding more in the background or in subtle, especially the painting on the left. this painting shows pathways where people (or animals) have left pathways in the ground through frequent use, as well as wooden posts. The shapes marking the edge of the dark area, before the red sky are somewhat triangular in shape, indicating that they could be the silhouettes of the roofs of houses behind the trees.
Shaw’s paintings are much more defined and realistic that the style which I have been working in, where my pieces have been much more stylised and expresive.
As part of developing my practice and improving my use of colour, I spent some time specifically practicing mixing dark colours with new, better quality, paints which would allow me to have more depth in my colours. For this I used Golden Artist Colours, specifically Quinacridone Magenta (PR122), Phthalo Blue (green shade, PB15:3) and Benzimidazolone Yellow Medium (PY154). I started with magenta, and gradually added more blue. From blue I then added yellow to make a variety of greens, and then from a dark green I cycled back through to magenta. my aim with this was to create examples of all the dark colours that I can mix and use in the place of black, using just primaries, and from the chart I can see what colours were used to get there.
This has allowed me to make my paintings dark, like Raedeckers and Shaw’s without everything looking washed out and dull.
These are some examples of the first paintings which I did to test these paints, on 3×4 inch canvas boards. With these paintings I was experimenting with mixing colours with these paints, looking at how they layer and blend and what I could do with them in comparison to other paints which I was using before.
Although these paintings were not initially a part of my project for this year, I found that they were more enjoyable to me to make that the manmade structures I had been painting before.
Something which I struggled with when using these paints was thinning them and also photographing them. For example, the ‘blue’ human skull painting on the top right actually leans much more green in real life, and I could not find a way to get my camera o pick it up as it was, and even with editing in post it does not like how it was intended. Due to these paints being much glossier than those I was using before, the methods I was using to thin my paints before did not work, it would cause the paint to simple bead up on the surface. This same glossiness also made them difficult to photograph, as there were many reflections on the surface. To get around this I would photograph them at an angle and use Photoshop to straighten them out in post editing.
this is a painting which i worked on over christmas using a reference photo which i took in a park in leicester. in this painting i spent a lot of tine trying to make the paint a little more present on the surface while also keeping a lot of close dark tones.
i painted this work on an a4 piece of mdf, which i feel allowed me to use a lot of layers and large amounts of paint better than paper would have. if i had used paper for this piece i feel it would not have survived the number of times i went over areas and removed paint.