Throughout the week, I mainly worked on a self portrait in oil. As I previously discussed, I wanted to focus on making my brushwork less smooth and concentrate on abstraction. I struggled quite a bit with this, especially with the slow drying time, but I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. I started the painting in the studio where the lighting was a lot more interesting, but most of it was done at home (and from pictures I took in the studio).
The main artists I looked at was Lucian Freud, for obvious reasons. I am always taken aback by how expressive and honest his brushwork is, especially in his later paintings. This is in large part what attracted me towards oil paint (which makes it all the more frustrating that this is what I'm most struggling with right now!). I watched a documentary about his life, which led me to looking into Celia Paul, whom he had a relationship with and frequently depicted in his paintings over a period of ten years.
Similarly to Freud, I find the brushwork in Celia Paul's work to be incredibly expressive. I see both a longing and wisdom in her self portraits. I also found her painting My Sisters in Mourning to be very impactful.
Looking back at my own work, it definitely feels like it’s time for me to increase the scale. I certainly cherish the intimacy of the small scale of most of my previous work, but at this point I feel like it is more an expression of timidity than vulnerability. This is also the case of my brushwork.
To break out of these confines, I would first like to focus on sculpture. This came to mind when I was watching the Freud documentary and they discussed how he mainly got into art school based on his sculpture work (which could explain how “sculpted” his paintings eventually became). In terms of my own work, I think working in three dimensions could be very effective at loosening myself up. I have always found sculpture very freeing.