I spent the end of last week adding layers to my existing painting and also started working on a second Bissoe canvas, adding a singular wash of colour as a ground so it could dry in preparation for this week.
I have also cut some scraps of canvas to size, from waste cut-offs and old paintings, for a new series of small paintings. These will be 8" x 8" in size. I started working on these with my Bissoe pigments, ready to stitch and draw back into this week.
I like the idea of having small canvas' alongside my larger paintings... The mini paintings almost acting as sketchbook pages to test the colour of the pigments and the textures I can create with different techniques.
I'm trying not to overwork these pieces, especially whilst each of the layers are wet. It's temping to work into something like crazy and it feels unnatural to apply one layer to something and then leave it to dry - but I have been achieving the best results this way.
This week, I have been planning my next field trips and continuing work on the Bissoe paintings.
I have also been in contact with David Paton, an artist-researcher and geographer who works at Trenoweth Dimension Granite Quarry near Penryn. I will be visiting the quarry with David over the next couple of weeks to collect waste quarrying materials to use for pigments in my next body of paintings.
Something else I have been trialling this week is the mixing of my pigments to create new shades. For example, I have mixed BI07 with BI13 to create a darker shade of rusty orange.
These new darker pigments will add depth to the paintings and hopefully create a sense of the moodiness that is felt when walking amongst the waste mining heaps around Bissoe and the Poldice Valley.
A third and final Bissoe painting was begun yesterday. As I had feared, it is incredibly easy to over-work these paintings, always wanting to add a little more to each layer.
I'm planning to keep this one a lot more minimal and let the mark-making naturally loosen up a bit.
I think perhaps the most important element in these pieces will be the areas of detail that sit amongst the vast and negative spaces created by washes of paint, left overnight to dry, generating pools of colour.
These details have started to relate to my field work at Bissoe, reminding me of certain aspects of the landscape that have stuck with me and are manifesting themselves within the paintings. For example, the drips of paint running down the canvas surface when painting vertically may be a subconscious allusion to the rain that fell on my field trip when collecting pigments at Bissoe.
The drips could refer to the eerily beautiful moodiness and dreariness of the barren, scarred landscape that ensued after the downfalls... the droplets of water that collected on branches of trees and dripped rhythmically onto the piles of man-made landscape below.
Pools of water allude to the dark cloud crowed skies that moved above the piles of grey, green, orange and red mining waste as we walked the Bissoe trail.
Something that has not appeared in the vocabulary of the painting yet - but something I would like to try - is the motif of the mining covers, the pyramid shaped shafts that stand tall in the landscape, above the wild-growing gorse and heather.
The landscape of Bissoe and Poldice Valley is manifesting itself in these paintings, not in an accurately pictorial sense, but in the details and negative space.