What is Epoch?
Epoch is a (relatively) small sized original painting created with just three colours of my enamel paint – black, white and cream. The striking nature of the paint movements are a result of the canvas being spun and being subjected to centrifugal forces at varying rotational speeds.
The basic premise is that you force the pain outwards by spinning it. However, the number of variations that determine what happens are almost impossible to predict or calculate. Think about paint volume, consistency, placement, sequence of colour, how many spins, how long to spin, how fast etc. and you can see that simply spinning a canvas around is not quite the random act of luck that it may initially appear to be!
How I got the look
One of the many things I like to look at, and that interests me greatly, are apparent ‘rips’ in time and space. We see them in science fiction on a regular basis and they’re often seen as gateways to another dimension or universe or simply a rift in the fabric of space.
So that was what I wanted for Epoch – a rip in space and time. To achieve this is base coated a 110cm square piece of canvas with a mixture of cream and white paint. Without letting that cure, I immediately applied an arc of black and one of white. These were diametrically opposed to each other but crossed in the centre with a few inches of overlap. This meant that when I spun for the first time I would get some black over the white and vice versa.
I repeated that again with a smaller volume of paint and that’s it! During the last spin I gave it a splash of my secret special sauce and that’s how I got the cell effects to pop out.
For a small painting this is remarkably detailed. One of the ways I get such a diverse series of tonal shifts is down to the base coat being liquids when I put the top coats on. As I spin the canvas the base coat inevitably mixes with the paint that’s on top so I use that to mix with the main applications to produce those amazing shades of light and dark.
Sure, it’s not an exact science and I don’t claim to control it that way but after many years of practice I do have a pretty good understanding of how the base coat will react to what goes over it. The more I let it cure the less interaction it will have. That’s fine for pieces with distinctive foregrounds and backgrounds so it’s another way I can create using slightly different sequences and timings.
And you thought spin painting was easy right? Welcome to my world!