Sunday afternoon after a productive morning. I went over the road to the old RSL park (Returned Serviceman's League, for those who live overseas) with a couple of friends for a few hours plein-air painting this morning and the resulting piece you can see below. On setting it up on the easel in my studio upon my return, I realised how tonal the appearance of my painting has become over the past few years. I still look for the form in things, which is quite contrary to the dogma of Max Meldrum and his followers, because I think it helps me to make a convincing painting. This one uses some elements that certainly weren't in front of me as I was painting, but if an element of invention helps with the overall composition, then I'm happy to use it.
I don’t like to follow one 'Method' in my work. There is some value in all that I have been taught, but of course some things are of greater value than others and the more I do, the better I am able to discern the difference. I used the word convincing a moment ago. Robert Hannaford used the word 'Truth'. For me, a combination of the two goals is what it is all about. If I can convince the viewer that he or she is looking at things in the way I wanted to see them, then I have succeeded. It might take a single line, a considered area of colour, or it might take a carefully crafted composition with many hours of work in it. Whatever it takes is what I will use.
The second painting is a mid-morning plein-air painting I made on Monday. Overlooking Moreton Bay from the esplanade at Manly, the day had started with a heavy overcast. This painting is a small one, 9 x 5 ", so I was able to complete it quickly. It describes a few minutes between rainstorms when the sun shone with great intensity upon the water. The specula reflections at the horizon are painted in almost pure titanium white which is as close as I can get to describing its brilliance. I was puzzling over the different colour of the sky and the body of water to the left of the piece when it occurred to me that it was due to the water being very shallow, and being able to see something of the mud beneath the surface.
A good week.