Saturday, 24 November 2007

Winter Solstice

oils on canvas 3at40x50cm, and 2at 75x50cm. Since my trip to Arran I have been wondering about the standing stones drawings and how I could turn them into paintings. From initial study sketches the idea that somehow they should incorporate figures became strong. But anyway I could think of doing this was always too intrusive - should the figure/figures be somewhere in the background, or the foreground, embedded in the stone or skulking around the stones themselves. Then the idea struck that they could most definitely be separate paintings, but made to form a series. Having made some simple b&w charcoal sketches to explore this idea I was convinced. I could see this set as a running mural by selecting canvases all of the same height and linking them with common features, for example the dark skyline and landform contours across the centre of each. And, of course, colour common to all. They were painted in the following sequence: Painting 1 (male figure), Painting 5 (female figure), Painting 4 (standing stones), Painting 3 (male figure), and Painting 2 (standing stones). Paintings 1 and 5 were painted over previous oil paintings of light blue tone and both considered as "failures". The others were painted on fresh canvases with no underlying texture but stained light blue. As the paintings developed one after the other the concept crysalised that they should represent the Winter Solstice, primarily because the subject of standing stones and ancient peoples seem to go well together, and, of course, the shortest day is fast approaching.

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