Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Detail from "Romance at NASA" - #7 in a series of 30

I have been thinking about the blonde haired character in the latest NASA painting. He seems to be offering a blessing of sorts to the two astronauts who are in some sort of embrace.
There is a false piety about this character - but I feel, that he is not yet aware of his own growing estrangement from his original ideals. He will become a mocker and destroyer of things he once held cherished.

The glasses indicate an intellectual aspect to this man. The long blonde hair suggest a radical or non-conformist attitude. The clouds that rain, frame the background behind his head - one rains up, one rains down - suggesting a contrary nature. A double minded man is like a boat tossed to an fro on the ocean - there is a boat on the top left side of the painting.

As for the two embracing, I have no clues - but it's a romance of sorts played out in a surreal environment. Well NASA #7 is almost finished. I just have to fix a few issues and do a few tidy ups. I have begun listing the colours on the back of the stretchers, as a way of keeping a record for future reference - especially if I like a colour scheme and want to use it again.

The colours in this were very difficult to reconcile, but the black container lines seem to equalise and tie it all together - there is still some imbalances and composition issues but I will sort them out. The compositions are worked out rapidly on these works - about five minutes quick sketch then about 30 minutes of alterations. Over the course of the painting minor adjustments are made to the outlines, while most of the work is spent configuring and placing colour - every work has it's own challenges and inner tensions.

"Romance at NASA" - unfinished

Colours used: Naples yellow, Prussian Blue, Viponds Hermitage, Titanium White and Carbon Black. Acrylic on Canvas. One or two layers of paint. Solid colour, no varnishes. Cheap brushes used in a loose way.

They are meant to be quick paintings, not laboured over but expressed individually and within the context of a larger work - a larger work of 30 paintings - sort of like people really.


  1. another interesting addition to what will be a stimulating exhibition. Maybe you shouldn't worry too much about using the same colours, the black outlines--as you said--tie the works together. besides you will need to see them together at sometime to work out the order and so forth and you could tweak them them.You and I both work in limited palettes for various reasons so that's a good things I suppose. How do like working on the sprung surface as opposed to the mdf? I'm growing fond of the stuff. It takes the abuse I heap upon surfaces much better than anything else I've tried.

  2. I love painting on MDF, it's firm and allows a crisper line. I can build up the surfaces thick or thin with glazes and washes. I can use charcoal, ink or pencil under or over paint and still get a crisp line.
    The canvas used in the NASA series was cheap and quik option over MDF. The painting style I employed for the NASA series fits well with the canvas, but the canvas can't hack a deeper and more layered approach - everything seems to be swallowed into the surface and loose energy - MDF throws the energy back out to you and remains active.
    One current painting I am doing on MDF has multiple undercoats applied that were finely sanded - the idea was to enhance the mark making even more - like rapping on a tight drum compared to a dull drum - sort of pushing the marks forward above the surface.
    I saw this done once very effectivly by a fellow student. 20 or so special undercoats finely sanded - it was very hard to see the surface - like Ernies shiny stone polishings or french polishing. The marks just seemed to float.

  3. Your NASA series... I find interesting and fascinating! My take on the paintings (coming from a non art background) having looked at them several times is that they resonate a ‘spiritual’ quality... like they could be image excerpts from biblical literature.... strange that! Anyway, I do like the effect of the displayed series in your previous posts. Also really think that your use of black outline is startling in a way! Well, I've enjoyed stumbling by your blog site:)

  4. There certainly are some interesting thigs going on in this work. I like the way you contemplate your own painting's meaning after it has been paited, asthough you weren't actually in controll of it's creation

  5. Cath - Yes, there is something spiritual about the NASA series. In some ways they operate like little parables, collectively illustrating a particular worldview - a much earlier series of sketches very similar to this series was expressly built on the Bible. I may return to complete the other series in the future on the strength of the NASA works.

    Hi Yi, the creation of anything is a process and my response to my own paintings triggers and fires the process. I sort of extrapolate upon the works, allowing myself to allow for divergent meanings and directions - I think this is pretty normal thinking/creating process.

    I think the works might be interesting because all the fantasy aspects of the works are grounded by real meaning and common thinking.


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