I am largely self-taught and my favoured medium is oil paint. I am not much interested in gestural painting; I prefer to build up thin layers of paint called glazes in order to create an illusion of space. When artists talk about finding the right mark I am not sure what they are on about; I am concerned with the overall effect. Instead of painting onto a white background I usually tint my canvas before beginning a painting. The use of a ground colour means that one uses much less white paint, in fact white becomes a colour in its own right. As white paint is opaque it reduces the vibrancy of the other colours so the less white one uses the better. I use a simplified palette based on the three complimentary colours plus a few earth tints. This kind of palette helps me to keep my colours fresh. I am very interested in colour and I like to use strong optical colours. I am always seeking to create maximum depth of field and there can be a contradiction here as depth of field is easier to create with subtle colours. I like to use the space outside of the picture especially with portraits. Sometimes I have the sitter almost coming out of frame or else there may be an object that protrudes into the space outside the picture. In my ‘Self Portrait holding a Lily’ the lily is outside of the picture plane. Conversely when painting landscapes I often extend the horizon on either side of the central focus, this gives the viewer of the picture more space than one could see in real life.
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