KILL YOUR DARLINGS - Week 3 : Part 1

'Omphalos' - the large work - in progress after several weeks of work acrylic and charcoal on canvas

I am still worrying about what to do and how to do it as I begin work on the 2 small and 1 large canvas. Of the three I fuck up two and one is OK.

Small 1 : is bright, cheery, loosely painted and vaguely like the original sketch I was trying to translate. It could benefit from a bit of refinement. I am now a little bored of it.

Small 2 : is dull, formless, and uninspiring even at this early stage. I look at it and want to burn or smash it, even though it could be easily overpainted. I decide to leave it at the back of the studio, out of sight, banished to its bedroom like a naughty child.

Large : starts well. I am encouraged.

In charcoal I gouge out three short sentences with deep meaning for me. They go right, left and centre and have a connection to the ‘subject’ of the painting. I decide this will be Omphalos.

Then I take my time…by which I mean days. Layers appear. I cover and reveal and rework sections. The piant surface builds nicely. There are some great contrasts of colour and texture.

I am a touch concerned by the vivid nature of the colours I chose and by the range. I seem to have wandered off the ‘keep it tight and controlled’ policy I decided on when I started. This is because paint in tubes is great. You just squeeze it out and smack or smear it on…way to go. I get a similar pleasure from butter on bread or jam and clotted cream on a scone (in that order - Cornish heritage you see) except they are both relatively bad for you whereas smacking paint about is positively therapeutic.

But the colours seem to be working and in control so I go with the flow. I can always mask or tone down later.

I get stuck in with a bit of charcoal mark making, random drawing, emulating my original sketch. All good so far.

This is now days in. A lifetime for me as I usually paint fast.

But I also sit about a lot and look and drink tea and rotate the canvas around from portrait to landscape, left to right and ponder and ponder a lot.

(All this takes place in my garden by the way. I paint outdoors; only going into the leaky and slowly rotting summerhouse/studio when its very cold, too windy or too wet).

By now there are lots of details – albeit all abstract – that I really like. A voice in my head starts nagging. It is from a course I did on creative writing. ‘Kill Your Darlings’ it says, repeatedly. The ‘editor’ is making an appearance...

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