Monday, August 11, 2008

My painting XXXIV

Painting at 11.8.08

My new best friend is Vandyke Brown. Rummaging in my paint cupboard amongst tubes with labels lost or obliterated, some with corroding metal caps and others containing esoteric colours briefly flirted with (including one dark orange bought in Adelaide twenty five years ago marked Australian Flesh Hue) I came across an almost unsqueezed tube of Roberson's Van Dijk Brown.

I spread some out. It covered well, as we say in the trade, and mixed generously with other colours adding rich darkness without smothering their identity. Here was the very gravy of art, the deep baritone Bisto of pigments I had always lacked. Thus it makes a late entry into the painting and an all too late addition to my compost heap of terminal greys.

Colour prejudice is rife amongst artists and old habits of mind are hard to change. The colours I favour still echo those nine or ten in the Reeves First Oil Painting Set, a Christmas surprise from my mother, lavish for our circumstances, which had me rushing up to my room to set out palette and palette knife, turps and linseed oil, and the small canvas on the easel that came with the kit: only a beret and a smock away from being a real artist.

Within hours I thought I had been the first to discover that burnt umber mixed with ultramarine provided a very passable black. Ever since, until now, I have been faithful to the umbers, raw and burnt, thinking I would need no other brown.

The pleasure of an affair with a new colour has masked to some extent current hesitations and difficulties I am having with the painting, of which more anon.


Anonymous said...


Ollie said...

You tell it with such vitality. Intrigued to know about your painting on!