2 Parts (Vine Black, Orange, Pencil), oil and pencil on gesso on wooden panel, 30 x 40cm, 2017
When I went into the studio on New Years Day 2017, I had already decided that I wanted something a bit more difficult and challenging in the work – some kind of change but I wasn’t quite sure what. I had become weary of the locked in geometries that kind of fixed the compositional elements and made the colour do all the optical shifting and moving, and sometimes struggling to do so. I was looking at a painting from last October, Three Part in Greens, which had been a bit of a surprise at the time – in the way that painting can do that. It had something of the lightness that I knew I now wanted and it felt less wilful and more open.
The new work grew from that painting. It uses the same grid elements with one as a mirrored reversal. 2 Parts (Vine Black, Orange, Pencil) like the first painting, was left at an arrested moment, the intention to go further abandoned. The drawn out pencil lines that delineate the underlying grid structure and usually operate as a guide or get pushed back by the colours were left as a visible and active part of it. Another preparation -the gesso sottile surface – inflects the painterliness of the transparent and glazed colours so that the gestural drawing is reversed so to speak, and is both within and underneath the surface.
Overall these things give the painting lightness and an understated quality with a more freed up sense of its organising principles.
Michael Harding Vine Black
Winsor and Newton Cadmium Lemon
Mussini Vermillion Red
Stabilo Pencils in Red and Yellow
Ampersand wooden panel with four coats of gesso sottile
Radio 3 (in studio)
Outside of the studio – Mozart Concert Arias, Beethoven Piano Sonatas, Vaughan Williams, Symphony No 2 (London)
Our Man in Havana, Graham Greene
The Birds, Alfred Hitchcock
My American Friend, Wim Wenders
Walking in a north Italian rural landscape at the beginning and end of each day