Paintings on paper have been piling up under the tables and I decided it was time to give them some undivided attention and notice what’s going on. That led to getting out more paintings on paper from the store room – all those made since I came back from Berlin in 2017. There’s something distinctive about this body of work that I needed to (re)clarify for myself.
It’s not simply that they are on paper – heavy watercolour paper that takes acrylic so beautifully. They are what I called “dynamic paintings” (see here for a description of the process and earlier examples), and are often accompanied by writing of short poetic texts. Some of them become what might more accurately be called painting~poems.
Reading about Gestalt psychotherapy has given me another way to think about dynamics in these paintings – as the interplay between ‘figure’ and ‘ground’. What is figure and what is ground changes continually as the painting progresses – sometimes the figure is, just that, a figure, and at other times the figure is colour and/or form. I paint in order to resolve figure and ground into some kind of unity or harmony. I continue painting until that feeling of unity prevails across the whole painting.