Painting “Spring Equinox”

This painting is acrylic on 40x40cm canvas. It can be understood as interpreting this haiku: “On the spring equinox clouds wander about the entrance of a mountain temple” by Iida Dakotsu

Not all paintings of mind channel text, but I often find it helpful, in retrospect, to associate meaning with text. The text was not found and a painting made of it, but the text found its meaning when associated with the painting. I don’t do this very often, but in this case the painting was to be in an exhibition with a words and paintings theme. However, the haiku did give the painting it

I added two coats of white acrylic gesso from Winsor & Newton but not so thick as to make the surface flat and smooth as I did not want to lose the appearance of the canvas surface. I find it important to maintain a surface that reflects light as it enriches the visual impact of the colour choices. Colours visually blend when light reflects off rough surfaces (think the colours of woven fabric for instance). Too smooth and you risk a shiny surface which will reflect light and be too white as that is what happens from smooth surfaces. Look at light reflecting off a polished table and you’ll see how much of the wood colour is lost to white glare.

The painting itself is made with Golden‘s range of neutral greys; I use numbers 2, 4 and 6. There is a little bit of white blended in using Zinc White also from Golden, which ensures transparency and avoids the white overwhelming the neutrals.

The design is built on three roughly equal bands running left to right. This is not based on the western notion of the golden mean or similar.

  1. The top band was demarcated using green painters tape. I painted with added water to ensure an even appearance with some shading to create dimensionality.
  2. The bottom band is also taped off and painted to ensure a defined gradation of the grey, using combinations of the three neutral greys.
  3. The middle band required retaping the top and bottom to keep the lines. The black box was added at that time with dimensions to echo the overall band structure. In the case of the boundary with the lower band, the tape was subsequently removed and the two bands selectively blended together.

The red was added last. This particular addition is always added last and is very important as the underlying aesthetic logic of the painting draws on Zen and the placement of the red, its shape and size depends on an overall sense of the painting’s gestalt for the red to achieve completeness, balance and closure.

There was no reworking of any area.

I used hog brushes, which usually come from Russell and Chapple in London, and rags (cloth and paper towels). I don’t use brushes specific for acrylic paint.

See Strange Materials for more details on materials I use.