Midnight Blues, 2020
Oil and acrylic on canvas.
100 x 70 cm.
I could try and describe this painting and its meaning but i recken that would take some of its magic away. Rather than doing that I will try and explain my thought process when doing a painting like this.
This painting started of has a simple idea: I wanted to portray a deep pool and have the viewer immersed in that environment. As you can see the end result is very different.
I didn’t apply any under drawing, so I changed a lot of the composition directly on the canvas. This process is one that I enjoy, the continuous chase for the perfect composition.
One of my favorite consequences of this process is the fact that the first layer of paint, the first attempt, never really disappears. Instead, it lays there, underneath the top layers, sometimes shining trough, sometimes hidden, but ultimately... always there.
This little bits of paint from different layers may have an impact on the direct reading of the image, however, I feel like they give character to the painting, they give it and history and a personality. The painting decides what layers it wants to show.
The viewer has an important role too. It depends on the angle, but most importantly, it depends on how interested the viewer is in the painting. If the viewer is sucessfuly captivated, he/she will pay attention to every detail and examine the painting from all possible angles. The painting has hidden secrets and only the most dedicated will be able to find them.
The human mind is tricky and it may be hard to get its attention and interest.
I enjoy the idea of telling a story through an image but there’s a fine line between showing too much and showing just enough to capture the viewer’s interest making them want to know and understand more. This is my role as a painter, to know that line and to walk across without falling to either side.
It’s a constant challenge and it’s one that i’ve learned to embrace.
When it comes to originality and creativity I tend to think that it doesn’t come from nothing. We are constantly engaged in the world around us absorving visual information. For this painting there was a lot of experimentation with shapes, expecially the more anthropomorphic ones. Not only I absorb the day-to-day information, but I also invest time in searching for artistic references wich end up having an huge influence on my paintings.
I describe the fase I’m going trough right now as some kind of dream-like, surrealistic narrative. I create this narratives inspired in books, movies, dreams, daily moments or my inner feelings even. From there I think of an image to accompany that narrative. This part is the hard one. Dreams are foggy and don’t really make sense, for this reason, it is sometimes hard to try and create an image. My method starts by using materials that don’t create rigid lines. In the first instance I use old markers. This way I can start drawing shapes and arranging them together without creating a super defined line wich would shut down any other possible paths. If I leave the drawing lose there’s always space for imagination. This is a reflection of that thin I line I talked about, I suggest the shapes to the vieres but only showing so much. The viewer’s brain should fill in the blanks.
Charcoal is another great material for this process. It’s foggy by nature and it allows you to “play” with it until you find shapes that interest you. Its also great to study the contrast between the shadows and the lights. There’s something fascinating in letting serendipity do it’s part in my work.
However, such process, like any other, has it’s flaws. For example, when I start a painting such as this one, it may feel very liberating to paint without an underdrawing ou without a fix composition in mind, but this feeling soon fades and is replaced by one of exaperation. Another question arises: when do I stop? If I keep painting layer over layer making changes as I go, how do I know if I’ve reached the painting’s full potential? Maybe the full potential is never really met? Or maybe it has been reached layers ago. I reckon there’s no point thinking about these questions, it’ll only hurt the process and stop you from exploring. Serendipity only comes to those who look for it and you can only find it if you take action and explore the possibilities.