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Mapping a Distressed Canvas

An interesting project in which I have deliberately warped a canvas to create concave shapes within it. Today I am mapping the these concave shapes with the intention highlighting them with colour.

Watch this space, this is just the beginning…

Working towards an exhibition at: City Arts Space April/May (dates to be confirmed).


I had every intention of nipping into the workshop to put the last coat of primer onto the canvas before getting ready for the day…

It?s now three hours later, but at least this time it?s still morning.

However, I now have a nicely primed canvas ready to go. I have fixed the wonky leg on the work table and have reorganised the workspace. Of course since I was already half way to doing a general clean of the entire workshop, why stop there!!!

Now it’s a lot easier to get around in that cramped space and I’m ready to make three more canvases.

But not today…

Today I paint. But first, I will get dressed.

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When I am working on my art projects I am invariably reminded of an essay I wrote many years ago. Although in this case, the memory is not simply a time to look back. It was a time of realisation that was so powerful it has influenced my everyday life since. It challenged and changed my way of thinking and made me who I am today.

Later this lead to creating the philosophy by which I live and work. One that was formally written and presented as part of my honours degree some years later.

In the essay I proposed that, Art is a Form of Madness which “focuses on the thoughts that live in dreams and madness. A truth beyond reason”.

On realising my creative headspace does not have to bare the burden of logic, but sets it’s own rules and criteria. This realisation allowed a road to discovery that has no boundaries. One which can go as far as the mind can stretch and beyond. I am aware that when I am working, it is with an altered state of mind. One in which I converse with the work in a language which owns no words. Where the work becomes a living entity in which we form a symbiotic relationship. There is no separation at this time between art and artist.

I am sure I am not the only artist that operates in this way. Or maybe it is after all, just a form of madness. In which case I am happy to own it.

So where did this journey take me today…

I had just finished priming the canvas with the first coat of paint when I noticed a blemish. This is not surprising as I purposefully use blemished canvas, this being part of my creative process. I not only include such blemishes in the work but feature them. But today, I wondered if I could replicate the buckled paper I sometimes use when drawing. Of course, this idea had to be put to the test. What you see here is me trying to distress the canvas. First by wetting it and then placing it face-down down on top of various bits of detritus laying around, hopefully to cause some interesting affects. Next it was weighed down with a variety of things to give different values of distress.

Now all I have to do is wait for it to dry. I am not sure if this process will give me anything to work with. I will just have to wait and see. It could be that it doesn’t work but another idea will come out of it. I know this because that is what happens. It will form a flow of ideas some will work some won’t. It’s a creative journey into the unknown. But in the end something is always learnt which will inevitably inform future work.

If I move forward with this canvas, I will of course document the work-in-progress so that you can take this journey with me.

Checking the canvas. As you can see the canvas I use has lots of lumps and bumps. Something most artists avoid. For me I find them really interesting and a good foundation for the way I work.

Water buckets, paint tins and tools all piled on to try and create interesting bulges within the canvas, I hope.

The canvas it 2m x 0.5m. I do hope I get something out of it as I am dying to start a new painting.

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