A big burst of energy!
Vesuvius is large orange and black splash painting with buttermilk cream and grey undertones. Now, just because I use the word ‘splash’ doesn’t mean I’m any less considered with my concentration or methods. In fact, as these kinds of paintings are pretty much a one-shot-deal, you have to be painstakingly accurate with so many things for the effects to be right.
On this occasion I am balancing the constancies of both orange and black paints so that they form a dense enough mass where the meet the canvas but also have enough travel to reach the outer edges. With the viscosity taken care of the next consideration is positioning and the relative volume of paint to use.
Too little and it goes nowhere; too much and all you see is a mass with no plash. And if that’s not all, I then have to get the angle of the cup right along with the height of the throws in relation to the canvas. This is not a simple thing to get right and, believe me, I have had to do A LOT of practice over the years!
Layering, mixing and detailing
After the initial explosion has settled down and you can spend a little bit more time with the painting you begin to reveal a completely different world of detail that doesn’t always come forward when you first see it.
In areas of the black for example you can pick out some amazing fractal-like features where the black has hit the buttermilk base and then, because the base is still liquid, it has reacted together to produce some bewilderingly beautiful effects.
The that breaks off into white circles and blobs that you simply wouldn’t expect to see. It’s almost like ash raining down from a pyroclastic cloud has risen.
Layering like this helps the base layer merge with the paint that goes over the top and this interaction adds all the amazing textures and features that I’m talking about. One of the most revealing for me is the tension between the orange and black paints. That meeting point feels like it could still go off at any time – I like that. The feeling like something is still present and alive in something that is clearly not.
Volcanoes and things
Well there’s an obvious reference in the title right? But that’s only my own opinion. Although I’m sure you could definitely relate this painting to volcanic eruptions I imagine you could also be reminded of lots of other explosive things too. A champagne cork perhaps? A bomb maybe? Or perhaps it may remind you of spilled ink or a falling star?
The beauty of a good abstract painting lies in its ability to let you finish the story off for yourself, and that will be uniquely different for each of us. And so it should be because art is also an individual pursuit and one that feels different in all of us. So what better way to celebrate that than with a giant bang!!