LATE SUMMER 2023

 In Andrew's Blog

It’s unusual for me to send out blogs as frequently as this.

I want to try to put down in writing something about the process of making the paintings I’m working on. At the same time I will include images of the paintings so you can see what I’m talking about. So, unlike the last blog, this will be about my paintings and I’ll be trying to find the right words to describe what I was trying to do.

Years ago, when I was a student at Camberwell School of Art, I think I was fourteen; I showed the teacher a plant drawing I’d made in class. At that stage in art school we had to do plant drawings rather than draw from a live model. We weren’t allowed to see nude models at our age.

The teacher asked me what I was thinking about as I made the drawing. I realised then, that I couldn’t remember. I said so and it took me years to get over that realisation. In fact I don’t think I’m over it even now.

What do I think about when I’m making my paintings? I should say that the teacher praised the drawing. And when I look at it now I wish I could draw as well as I could then.

Plant drawing Andrew Aarons

Now I try not to think about what I’m going to paint. I meditate while I’m setting out my colours, the mediums, the brushes and knives. It’s an attempt to clear my mind. It doesn’t always work.

Making a painting is like having a conversation. When you’re talking to someone you don’t have a plan of what it is you’re going to say. The other person says something and you respond. It’s that simple. And that’s how I try to paint. The first mark on the surface demands a response. Sometimes the response is longwinded and complex. Sometimes it’s just another single mark. Sometimes it’s multi coloured and multi layered. It varies just like a conversation. As with a conversation it can take an unexpected turn. It’s not something planned or rehearsed.

Here’s an example of a painting I had been working on for a few weeks. I was not happy with it but had to keep pushing it. It was no longer a conversation. It became an argument.

Andrew Aarons Painting

It was over painted. Just too much. So I covered a lot of it in a mixture of different whites with the addition of some medium to make the colour slightly transparent to allow a little of the underpainting to show through.

I then heavily laid on more black in areas that I had left untouched with the white, and it became this.

Andrew Aarons Painting

I have not included images of the many stages that the painting went through before arriving here.

Time also played its part because the oil colour had to dry sufficiently to allow overpainting.

The conversation went on until one morning I thought I knew what needed to be said next.

It became this.

Andrew Aarons New Stuff #6

You could say that the addition of the red and the blue were an unexpected turn in the conversation.

I’d be delighted to hear from other people, writers, poets, painters, printmakers, photographers, sculptors, anyone. Do you work in a similar way? Perhaps describe your process.

Thank you.
Andrew

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  • Stanford Myer-O'Reilly
    Reply

    Hi Andrew, the canvass is your conversation partner, who has the final say and why? Or is the canvass the slave to the master, silent and obedient to your total control and do as you wish? I often wonder at what inspires the painter to their selection of canvass size, whether portrait or landscape. Does such a choice free up the potential inspiration and direction of the painter? Can such a choice inhibit, restrict or enclose the painter? So many questions a totally non artistic person asks. Very often the painter may indulge in conversation with the canvass, a one way dialogue but sometimes multi layered thought and response relationship of mind, matter and abstract interaction? I do enjoy the drawing Andrew, it captures both the very skeleton of form, shape and matter, a sense of rawness but fundamental completeness of the pure essence of the plant. But I am very much more full of questions, but very admiring of the drawing. Final question, how does the conversation compare when composing the drawing and composing the painting?

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