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That Whistler has a lot to answer for

This picture explores the simplification of forms, the use of colour and line.


There's been a lot of coverage of Whistler recently and his "Woman in White" stuck in my head. That's where the standing figure and the domestic interior came from. "WIW" was a portrait of his muse and this is derived from my muse, but no harm was done to her because she did not have to pose.


The yellow watering can, the mirror, the plant, the clothes, the TV and table top all are base on real elements.These props are there to introduce shapes pn which to deploy colours. Colours are not as obvious as in some of my other pictures because they are muted, the picture is worked out in a limited palate of three colours - orange, blue and cream. Orange occupies the centre ground with blues offset top left and bottom right and creams occupying the other two corners.


The forms have been radically simplified and modelling only minimally expressed. For example, the face is divided into two tones and the mouth is reduced to a triangle. The modelling of the hair has been given minimal differentiation.

There are deliberate references to Cubism, my first and enduring love. For example:

-You can see the top of the mantlepiece because it allows me to introduce bars and triangular gussets of colour.

-Similarly the top of the watering can is shown so I can put in a black oval outline..

-The figure's right arm is cranked schematically, because I wanted a right angled shape with an interesting curve to finish it - the hand brushing aside the plant.


Then there is the question of line. My pictures are consciously graphic so line is the basis for what I paint. A lot of my recent pictures break up areas of colour with lines of unpainted canvas. Previously I used white lines on one side and black on the other to suggest directional light, see "In deep cover". I used thick black lines with "In the rough" and in one recent picture (Emmaus).

Here the drawing is played down. I have used mainly the white exposed canvas lines but also used black lines instinctively, As a picture progresses I photograph what is there so I can try out ideas on a print. I have also eliminated lines altogether to create areas of common tones in the shadow shapes the run vertically and horizontally through the picture.



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