Saturday, 6 December 2008

My new job is supporting young people as they follow a motor mechanics course. If you’ve heard the phrase “learning difficulties” but are unsure exactly what it covers, I recommend a quick visit to somewhere like wikipedia. While I’m at work, I find it difficult to think about painting, conversely I realised this week that while I’m painting, the work is still on my mind. Which brings me to this red onion skin.
I’ve had this sitting on a shelf in the studio for two weeks now. I began the painting on Monday and stopped today. Thursday evening I went to a life class so I deliberately ignored the skin. This means that I’ve probably invested ten hours in it, ten hours to produce what is little more than a colour study of an onion skin about 8 x 4½ cms. I underpainted in a grey monotone then glazed alizarin over it. I repainted because I was unhappy with the values. Then I added lights, scraped them back, glazed again, more lights, darks, another glaze….. At the drawing stage I decided against a background because I wanted to focus on the form alone. There is an organic simplicity to it, like a shell or leaf. I can see it anchored by gravity yet about to float away. In my mind I know what it should look like but my hands are unequal to the task. There are nuances of colour here and I long to mix them. I am not trying to make the world draw breath before this onion skin, I am just trying to paint it. I don’t know why this process is so absorbing. I am in love with a piece of onion skin and I want to give it the attention it deserves. Learning to do what you cannot is difficult but this is not the same as a learning difficulty. The students I work with are an inspiration.

Onion # 14, Red Onion Skin, oil on paper, 170 x 120 mm

4 comments:

Shari said...

Fabulous onion skin, Nick. The light really brings it to life and the shadow grounds it. Good work.

Good luck with the new job.

nick said...

Thanks Shari. Glad to see you're able to post again too. The new work shows great variety. I was still unable to leave a comment there though. Do you need a hand with the settings?

Shari said...

Thanks Nick, I need all the help I can get! LOL

I'm thinking of incorporating the quick works into my usual blog anyway and deleting the new one because of all the problems I seem to be experiencing with it.

rob ijbema said...

love this simple statement nick
color is spot on!
happy new year!