|'Porthleven 20' 80x80cms|
One of the great benefits of teaching is that it presents the opportunity to restate principles and beliefs about painting. Without a doubt, this helped with this painting, which I worked on during the recent workshop at the Lifeboat Art Studio in Porthleven.
As in all my paintings, there were many wrong turnings during the process. There is usually a point where a painting looks like something you have made before: this piece was exposed when hung alongside 'Porthleven 19' and I was also forced to look again by the clarity and quality of the work of the other artists in the group.
In comparison, this painting was bitty/fragmented, inconclusive & static. The colour was not working, the deep pink was too sweet and distracting, cancelling out the blue, the painting tediously divided into three equal sections, with the group of four piers almost dead centre. Day 3- Day 4 was definitely backwards. It was a mistake to square off the bottom right corner of the harbour, losing the beautiful 's'-shape though we did see the introduction of the dynamic parallel lines of the slipway on the bottom edge. Above all I had failed to come to terms with the square, whose perfection has to be broken.
'Simplify- always look for a bigger shape within the canvas, a stronger composition.....'
Now all the elements within are larger. The new thing is the procession of lines and the curves creating movement towards the top right corner/the open sea. Drawing holds this piece together. I have been drawing more, especially now I'm drawing not teaching in the Thursday life class.
The painting has been on the wall for a week- no changes are needed. It looks different which is how it should be. It could not have been made without being in this place (Porthleven) with these artists at this particular point in time. The drawing and exercises we did together, the discussions we had both in the studio and the Ship Inn, the group dynamic and the intensity of working, all contributed. See here for blog post on the April 'Freedom in Painting' Porthleven course and exhibition.