Over The Edge


A stunning contemporary painting with beautiful abstract loops and shapes

Each time I try this technique I develop the lines and loops and mould them into something wonderful. A subtle repeating structure that morphs and evolves as the painting grows. Marvellous!
190cm x 85cm (75″ x 33″)


Contemporary painting in black and red called Over The Edge
kitchen and black red art
red and grey enamel paints on canvas

Using black and red effectively

These two colours are at the very heart of my creativity. My first proper large format painting was a red and black canvas with hints of white (something not too dissimilar to the guitar designs of Eddie Van Halen). Ever since then I have gone to extraordinary lengths to do these colours justice and push my boundaries further.

Which brings us to where we are now and Over The Edge; not the largest canvas I have created (with these colours) but it certainly ranks as one of the most satisfying.

Up, down, repeat

To give life to a painting like this you need to give every part of the canvas its own story and narrative. And as the red loops are the main focus here it’s only natural we should talk about them first.

From the start you can see that this painting is, essentially, a series of repeating lines. They’ve been bent, morphed and coerced into some rather delightful loops and bends but at their heart they are simply lines.

However, that only reveals part of the story. If you care to look a little deeper you’ll notice that they all carry a different angle and paint density. One of the briefs in my head was to make them appear very similar from a distance but have them dissolve in to their own entities as you move closer.

Despite having their own characters and personalities though they all follow the same basic rules for their structure and application method. The skill of the artist here is to develop each one into something that stands on its own merit. I think I’ve achieved that.

red black contemporary painting

The supporting cast

Into the dramatic red shapes is woven a complex underpinning of black and white enamel paint. Sometimes these shapes go through the red paint and sometimes they don’t. The process of putting paint down in sequences, mostly one on top of another, is called layering.

It’s one of the fundamentals of my work as an abstract artist. It’s one of the many ways I can create the illusion of depth on a flat surface – something that can be very difficult when you don’t paint with perspectives or focal points. By building thin layers of paint you can create all kinds of illusions; most notably that of depth.

Fading to grey

The powerhouse of colour beyond red is that dense and powerful black at the base of the painting. This is the backbone for the whole thing and it’s the bit that everything grows and escapes from. Gradients are a neat trick I learned a long time ago for creating movement.

However, they only really work when you fade out to a lighter colour or tone from a darker one – in this case we’re fading out to grey and silver with a hint of cream. A background layer gradient is the perfect foundation on which to build those expressive and wayward red shapes that dominate the rest of the painting.

Free home viewing

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