On The Western Plains

very big minimal abstract painting

‘On The Western Plains’
is a very large abstract painting created with black and yellow paints

300cm x 130cm (118″ x 51″)


includes UK delivery and hanging.
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large yellow and black abstract painting
big yellow and black art in a house

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Yellow and black

I have many combinations of favourite colours but this is in my top three for sure. When thinking about putting yellow and black together I have to be quite considered in their relationship with each other if I want to make something a bit special. The wrong volumes, incorrect placement, unbalanced shapes, poor techniques – they can all happen if I don’t have a rigid plan.

Anyway, I was asked recently to do something with black and yellow paint as a challenge. So I decided to go big and give myself plenty of canvas to move freely around. Clever use of white space, rich, dense black and a strikingly beautiful yellow help to make this painting a bit special.

So what we have a as result is large abstract with minimal undertones (plenty of white space) and some bold and striking colour applications forming the main part of the composition.

Colour highlights

You may notice some subtle use of blue and grey in here too. Grey is so important in this painting – it helps to show off the brilliance of the white but also to act as a halfway point between that and the finality of the black, which is the dominant force everywhere.

There are some truly beautiful forms in just the grey parts themselves. In fact the majesty of paint is shown everywhere here. I mean – just look at the black for fuck sake – it’s epic!

The yellow is a hybrid of sunset, melon and hazard warning triangle! It’s deep, rich and piercing. Built in to the yellow is a series of back lines and waves and it also blends some of the blue in where the crests rise upwards on the left hand side.

On The Western Plains by Swarez art

Lines and brush strokes

I don’t like using paint brushes and don’t often use them in my work. I think they are crass, lazy and far too old fashioned.

However, in this painting I have used a 4 inch one for the grey applications at the top on the left hand side. Why I hear you ask? It just felt right I guess. I did hesitate but I saw something in my head and a brush was the only way I could get it to form how I saw it. So you got me okay? Time to eat my words!

I also took great care of placing the two vertical lines. These were necessary to break up the horizontal nature of the painting and help split the piece into viewable segments. I also refer to these key elements as break points – the parts that help your eyes to rest and make sense of things and also to help pull all the other parts together.

So what is it then?

A mirage, an oasis, a sandy outreach… make of it what you will. Our brains are wired to make sense of everything and to assess if it’s going to kill us or whether we can kill it. It’s a rudimentary response code that is present in all of us and is our most basic way of understanding things.

In this context that principle is working out how the shapes and colours relate to something tangible and whether that is safe or dangerous (in the case of art it’s a like or dislike). But in any case the psychology of aesthetic pleasure is based on our ability to make it relate to something we recognize in the first instance and then assess if that relationship fits with our perception of what we like and dislike.

That happens in about 0.4 of a second for every person on the planet – pretty awesome isn’t it? My focus group have had some epic reactions – one says it reminded them of growing up in Arizona, one said it was like being in the desert (well, a few said that actually) and one even said it looked like spiders dancing in custard!

And that, my friends, is where I will leave it; I can’t compete with that!

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