Diary of a painting – David Manley

scotch-water-30-x-30-2017

DIARY OF A PAINTING – Scotch & Water, Acrylic on board, 30 x 30 cm., 2017

a) Choose a support…well there’s another 30 cm. square plywood panel, wood primed and then gessoed with Golden primer to hand so thats it. As it stands that suggests another in my All That Jazz series of paintings that started just over 15 months back with am ambition to muss up the geometry of my Wonky Geometry pictures with a littlee more incident and contrary imagery.
b) Ground…not exactly sure why but I tend to split it in two colour wise. Here’s a lightened up Dioxazine purple that I mixed up too much of so I’ll slap that on half the panel.
c) In my mind to use a dirty yellow to counterpoint the purple…an obvious primary/secondary combo but then again why not?
d) oh – now the ‘idea’ stage…as it’s going to be another in the Jazz series…I have a ‘sketchbook’ of forms and elements (culled in part from fifties album sleeves and wallpaper/fabric designs) so time to rifle through these I guess.
e) but not until I’ve put something on the panel to resist the inevitable sanding back with this series. I favour GAC500 from Golden.
f) now a form to work with…or against. Its usually a triangle but maybe this time a rectangle – and as for colour…another batch surfeit.
g) mussing up time…a stroke across the lot.
h) ah…the image…working up from photoshop…listening to Laura Jurd’s Dinosaur album, there’s lot of young UK jazz talent about at the moment and they are amongst the best. I tend to spend a wee bit too much time on this as the resulting image is simply a rough guideline.
i) right…let’s get to it…session one with a soundtrack of Derby County v. West Brom in the FA Cup on the radio. Lots of colouring in now that I find is one of the most comforting parts of this funny old business. Now back to the garage for a light sanding back. Session two a couple days later with a soundtrack of the marvellous Billy Jenkins (I can only manage instrumental music when painting though the spoken word is oddly enough ok).
j) So thats broken the back of it methinks…a period of cogitation now. Getting on with other projects (too many really) with it just sitting there. I know it will only be minor adjustments, I just don’t know what! Some of the thinking takes place whilst out and about in the north east of Leicestershire walking around villages as part of the early stages of the Melton project. Itself a part of a larger plan to make a small canvas for every village in the county.
k) Ok sit and really think. The soundtrack is Cannonball Adderley’s early 60’s sextet and on the album is an early Zawinul composition – Scotch & Water that will do nicely for a title. All sorts of things go through my head now, poems by Cavafy and Seferis have been on my reading list as I’m tucking into Mary Jacobus’ Reading Cy Twombly…and he referenced them a fair bit. Oddly though I’ve had a copy of the Penguin Four Greek Poets since August 1969 I’d never properly read them. An omission that I’ve managed to rectify after nearly 48 years…
l) So a few adjustments the most significant being a blue ground change utilising a lightened prussian blue. My old college friend Dave Thomas comes to mind with his oft repeated maxim that any picture is improved by slapping some prussian blue on it. Pity I’ve added a large dose of titanium white but there you go. I’ve been invited to show in Colour: A Kind Of Bliss by curators and exhibitors Lucy Cox & Freya Purdue at The Crypt, St. Marylebone Church in April through June this year (with Andy Parkinson, Julian Brown & Jeff Dellow) & this painting is one I hope may be selected.
m) So that’s it then…Scotch & Water…maybe I’ll have one, after all the Xmas gifts included bottles of Jura, Glenmorangie & Talisker.

David Manley

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