Be bold

This week I thought it useful to remind us all to be bold when painting. In this time when we have not been able to meet up physically to paint there is a temptation over time to become tentative with our painting, especially in the execution of our brush strokes. Don’t give in to this – be bold!

I have, therefore, taken as my subject, figure painting. Especially as this is an area where we tend to get very worried about proportion and placing of features…

Back in the 10th century, Shi Ke produced these wonderful paintings, one of which I am concentrating on today. Hopefully you can see that the energy of key strokes is infectious and, of course, must be performed without doubt and with no room for titivation. There is real freedom in just letting the strokes fall where they do…

2 Chan Patriarchs harmonising their minds - detail - Shi Ke 10th C 35x64cm
2 Chan Patriarchs harmonising their minds – detail – Shi Ke 10th C 35 x 64cm

I took these paintings as the subject of a workshop back in 2014 after having seen them at the fabulous exhibition of Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from 700 – 1900 at the V&A in London.

There are many ways to start and I think, rather than thinking of a tiger, I started with looking at rocks and how to paint them…

Rope stroke mountain
Rope stroke mountain

I then added a figure to the rock. However, I thought it useful to consider that if you want to work freely you may wish to go for it with the figure and then add the rock, or another feature, to the picture afterward…

Man Mountain 1 by Paul Maslowski 2014
Man Mountain 1 by Paul Maslowski 2014

There now follow a couple of variations of the finished composition of the Man Mountain under the moon…

Man Mountain 2 by Paul Maslowski 2014
Man Mountain 2 by Paul Maslowski 2014
Man Mountain 3 by Paul Maslowski 2014
Man Mountain 3 by Paul Maslowski 2014

This reminder is just as much for me as anyone as I have been deliberating over one detail or another in a painting which has lead to a reduction in energy.

I know that we do not all have as much time for painting in the Summer but this is the ideal time for big, bold and loose paintings with lots of flow…

Happy painting

Paul

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