As I await the other two long canvases to be made and primed, I work on the middle panel and think about what I will draw up on the next two canvases. I’ve decided to place the new canvases one on each side of the middle one and when they arrive the whole triptych begins to take place.
Monumental, some have described it as! It certainly is that. This is the biggest painting I have done to date and I’m really enjoying the way artists, visitors, tutors and personal support assistants are all having things to say about the paintings as I paint them. This input helps me to give the piece direction in the way I place the characters as well as the way I paint it. Keeping the paint free, loose and accessible is what I want to achieve.
Also people are watching the work emerge on all my social media posts and are coming in and telling me so! This is a little strange as even though I know it’s up on Facebook and Twitter it’s like another world and another audience that is unseen.
By the end of week 4, I have drawn up all the canvases and blocked in with colour all of the main figures, giving the triptych an overall sense of the event.
Canvas one and two, left and middle pieces describe the artists making work, the absorption they have towards their work and images of portrait sittings happening in the background. Canvas three on the right describes the conversations, opening speeches, the hanging of the exhibitions and the interactions the tutors and volunteers had with the artists and supported studios.
I decided that in my painting of the summit all of the figures illustrated are all people who I had an interaction with or who were portrayed during my portrait sittings. I decided to do it this way as I needed to feel a connection with each and every portrait I paint. I think this gives the collective image a sense of emotion and connectivity.
In week 5, my last week, I concentrate on the detail of the faces bringing each portrait to life which expression and likeness.