The (Un)Whole picture (in progress)

Exposing the scaffold.

There is something about a finished picture that to me seems….well, unfinished. Not in its completeness, but in its capacity. A building may look impressive, but the appreciation of the fundamental skill that was involved in the whole process is lost in obscurity, covered by a gleaming exterior, poor Wren collecting all his thoughts and experiences of life to erect his domes, only to be discovered on the outside by a weekend trip to the library.

There is something beautiful about turning a blank page into lines, slowly revealing itself into a recognisable image. Pulling an idea from the realm of mind to the reality of existence. Something only the artist witnesses as they take an untouched surface through to resolution of a final image.

The wonderful scaffolding and foundations of the preliminary shapes slowly disappear under the tones of light and dark. Positive and negative space takes hold. The building blocks being rubbed out with lashes upon lashes of layer and colour. Where does that image come from? Where did it exist before it revealed itself? What was it made out of, and most interestingly, what prompted it to reveal itself, and in the way that it did?

I like layers. Layers are fundamental to the building blocks of life…of consciousness…reality…behaviour…relationships…language…among many other things. I like to look at the process of making a drawing/painting as a progression of layers, just like the masons laid down their foundations to build up the immense structures of every great city.

When drawing or painting a picture I like to blend these layers, usually from the outside in to the focal point of the piece which would contain the final layers of detail, drawing the eye to this point while allowing the viewer to see, understand and appreciate the different coats of technique used under the surface, the mechanical workings, the blueprint of the drawing.

Thoughts of multiple dimensions, wavelengths of light, colour spectrum and subconscious sorcery start to come to mind, but without delving in so far lets ask ourselves one question first: “Is the artist responsible, or are they just a conductor for what just took place?”

A tricky idea that does indeed delve into things that cannot exactly be ‘scientifically’ proved

The most beautiful things are left to our imagination, not our senses.


Stripping away, building up, exposing, understanding, symbolising and metamorphosing  layers can be seen in all walks of life, and exploring these ideas, arm the artist with as much fertile scope as you can shake Sigmund Freud’s stick at.


In Italian technique that can subtly guide the viewers eyes to a certain point in a painting by increasing the detail so that, in it’s extremes, a picture can go from a hazy tonal change, to a most prominently detailed stare from a pair of life like eyes to give an intensely dramatic feel to the piece.


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