Diary of a painting – Wendy Saunders 

​Painting Diary

Wendy Saunders
a double painting\\

when I first started painting I always began with a perfectly prepared plain white surface.  Clean, fresh and ready.  Nowadays I plunder old paintings to make new works or prepare new supports with bold coloured ground(s).  Old work underneath works well, adding a push and pull tension and allows for serendipity – a silver lining found in old paint becomes a future foundation.
I didn’t know at the time but eventually the smaller painting comes with a partner work.

Untitled (Post A works)122x122cm plus 60x49cm (attached) oil on canvas x2 2017.
Starting anew with a 2013 portrait-y painting (in landscape) – its ok, but not good enough to keep.

Have ideas to make ‘pumpkin head paintings’ – more about form than expression..

Blocked out the new form in bright oranges, greens, yellows…. what was I thinking..

Not working

Knock it back a bit.  abandon
…Flip the work to portrait and lay out tubes of

Michael Harding Unbleached Titanium White

Old Holland Zinc White

Windsor and Newton Neo Cadmium Red

Old Holland Flesh Tint

Old Holland Mars Black

Michael Harding Vandyke Brown

-a palette partly inspired by recently looking at Rauschenberg paintings

Old Holland Medium
Starting with no particular thought but to erase the bright glaring inept previous surface. begin scrubbing on unbleached titanium white with a favourite stumpy brush. add some greys. soon a form begins to emerge as the paint is pushed and scribbled across the surface. I find myself on home territory – shaping a head of sorts.

Play it out slowly  – without self imposed pressure to make it one way or another.

stay loose.

sees where it leads.

The colour(s) is good?

Is it reflecting how I am feeling? I don’t want to think too closely about this.  Shut out what this painting is looking like because it probably looks like me. Still painful, still too close. a family death.  I am scared that it may look like me.

I leave it alone for now.
Hoist out a lovely big pre stretched/oil primed John Jones stretched canvas that has been waiting for sometime.  I hunt about for something rich to lay over the bright white surface.

Grand thoughts…  make a big painting.

I find an end of tube – Winsor Newton Cadmium Red Deep Hue – a pinkish red. Thin it out and set to with a big brush to get a decent covering of it.  Propping it up on the cupboard out of the way to dry, the sun shines through the window – it lights up the room with its exhilarating saturated colour. its a relief. music plays. a dance at the end of the day.
back at the head painting.

its at a delicate stage.  its roughly made. is its meaning obvious? it doesn’t matter – but I don’t want to lose its intent.

I don’t want to lose its uncertainty. the form is obvious enough. a little grey.  a little black. what now?… wipe it back just a bit..

photograph it and leave it alone.
propping it out of the way against the big pinkish red canvas in the afternoon light  startles me.  over the next few days I keep looking at it. It seems right.  It works well, it works for me. My eyes can’t quite see the head so clearly against the lively pinky-red.
I look at the cross bars on the back of big canvas and figure out how I can fix them together.  It may be an autobiographical piece of work but what isn’t?
music: Barbara Barbara, we face a shining future  – Underworld.  Skeleton Tree & Push the Sky Away Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Chill FM & my Spotify playlist.
reading: Guston by Robert Storr, Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, Master & Commander by Patrick O’Brien, Paintbritain twitter

Wendy Saunders

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