By mid 2012 the limitations of painting in my back bedroom were becoming apparent. Quite apart from the inevitable difficulties of working from home, it is impossible to get far enough away from a painting to view it properly, and the largest piece I can manage is 60 x 80cm, albeit not small, but restrictive none the less. At the time, I’m waiting on a studio space becoming vacant at the Kelham Island Artists Collective, have had 5 paintings accepted in the Great Sheffield Art Show, and had just started promoting my work on the internet. This proved to be a positive move, leading to an invite from one artist, Donna Bramall, to join in with her open studio event, and establishing a set of connections which have resulted in a group exhibition and some lasting friendships.
Boneyard was the last painting I did in my bedroom studio. I did the development work on the iPad, using ArtRage, and the image below is the initial sketch for the work.
I find the comparison between the digi painting and the finished work interesting, the softer feel of the ArtRage version a result of the difference between a virtual and real palette knife as a painting tool. The programme is very useful, but these days I am more likely to be using it as a mid process development tool, exploring the consequences of changes to half finished canvases without risking destroying the work.
Boneyard is inspired by the American habit of storing everything they’ve ever made in the desert, presumably just in case it becomes useful in the future. In my youth I was fascinated by this, and also photographs of US battleships wrapped in latex and stored in dry docks, both of which seemed exciting for a teenager much given to exploring scrapyards, and the decaying remains of old transport planes at Biggin Hill aerodrome. At 60 x 80cm it went from being large at home to tiny in the studio, and has so far resulted in one larger version (see ‘Enforced hiatus’ 3 posts down) and 6 digital colour studies that I may get round to painting one day.