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Sketchbook images 2018

I started the course working on a number of small drawings, sourced from memory and informal photos I’d shot on my Canon film camera in the early 90’s. I then settled on taking a particular drawing I’d done in biro forward into an oil painting on canvas.







A racing green 1966 Ford Zephyr rotting in the car park on the estate where I used to share a flat with my  brother. Tim, then a rockabilly, is caught wincing at its slow, painful demise.  Obsolete, over. Waiting for the council to take it away.

I recently cleared out much of the clutter from my shed/workspace-stuff that I had hung on to, most of it without any apparent worth. I piled it all up at the bottom of the garden and covered it with black p.v.c sheeting, ready for disposal. I could not let it all go without recording it and so I peeled back the black plastic shroud and photographed the junk on my mobile phone. It reminded of me those secret, sacred areas where kids love to play. Something had become apparent during the de-cluttering process. I started to see meaning in this debris and the possibility of a painting holding that meaning.








I went back a few days later and photographed it with a digital SLR.

Tricycle, drum stand case, paint tin, corrugated iron, chipboard, vinyl office chair, accordion case, lawn mower, scooter. History in each useless object.


I hadn’t painted on panel for many years so I primed an off cut of MDF with a decorator’s primer and a roller. I transferred the image in a way that I thought was quite close in effect to the hanshita-e or under drawing in Japanese wood block printing, for a clear graphic effect.

As the painting progressed I realised that builder’s primer is pretty unforgiving and is better suited to receiving house paint. I found it tough going. I subsequently primed the second panel, also a slightly warped off cut, with gesso, an infinitely better surface for detailed oil painting.

I liked the fact that the boards were discards, literally remnants of my clear out and during a one to one tutorial, Geraint felt that the images may have been better served conceptually by painting directly on to the un-primed surface. I didn’t enjoy the warp of the surfaces and so I attached pine supports on to the back of the panels to keep them true and to give them heft and solidity. I   subsequently distressed the edges by sanding back the primer to reveal the original surface and it’s age ,very slightly. I am also conscious of leaving a white primed border around the paintings in a way that it may suggest a slide or a Polaroid derived image. I will be interested to see as to whether it will work as the paintings become progressively tighter.

                         The Zephyr, Ford Transit and Landrover will have to wait for now.

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