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'Porthleven 40 - (The Possibility of Window)'  25x30cms 2019-20


Another problematic painting revisited. Working from a drawing from the back of the Old Lifeboat House studio, at the core of the painting was the diamond-shape roof and the dynamic zig-zag relationship with the pier above. Thrown into the mix was the exploration of the idea of the internal frame/border, the possibility of window...

With 'Porthleven 40', I had to lose everything to save the painting. Endless reworking, including a switch in orientation, until I found the mark/shape that I could build the painting around - the translucent Indian Yellow diamond (5).  All the shapes are working now and with the extension of the pier to the canvas edge - the final mark - we have a delicious ambiguity/duality: pier or window? Good colour too; the yellows and juicy, precious Old Holland Cadmium Orange - what a colour! - set off by a Phthalo Green and Cobalt Blue ground, working to the image. Playing loud was the Cocteau Twins: 'Treasure'.


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Looking back at the development of this painting, I was drawn to the rawness and daring of stage (2)? That blue 'roof' - wow!  There was a makeover in December, with the introduction of the green and orange, bringing a colour-zing to the painting (4) but I was always troubled by the roof.


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'Porthleven 40' completes a quartet of paintings investigating 'the possibility of window' inspired by the stunning Bozenna Biskupska show Epiphany of Time at the L'Etrangere Gallery and the 2019 Bonnard exhibition at Tate Modern. 


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'Porthleven 41 - (Diamond)'


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'Porthleven 41 - (Diamond)'  60x60cms

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It's very rare that I return to a painting, but looking again at 'Porthleven 41', I thought the diamond of the roof our Old Lifeboat House studio could be a better shape and bigger. One thing led to another and now we have a more dramatic composition and stronger painting. Now the canvas-divide is more integrated and doing a job for the painting: the possibility of window...

The spirit of Bonnard..soft lines and brushwork and complimentary colour.


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'Diamond' and 'Zigzag' were painted during the recent Porthleven courses in Cornwall, both working from a drawing of the back of The Old Lifeboat House studio looking out to sea.

Responding to the course theme of 'window', 'Diamond' started with a new yellow made from Primrose and Burnt Sienna. The process below shows how the scale and positioning of the building was established in the composition and how the diamond-roof came to dominate the piece. 

In the final version (above), all fripperies from (4) were removed and the diamond was painted in a lighter, stronger yellow. Now the building sprawls in a deliberate diagonal corner to corner dynamic, its' weight dissolved by colour. The simplicity and geometry of this piece appeals, and the intensity of the yellow is startling. My strongest critic Denise likes this one!