Psst! (Orange), 2017

Psst! (Orange) was the first of my square paintings and the first to be based on a digital composite made specifically to be reinterpreted in paint, (it was a reaction to the looser, more expressionistic work which preceeded it. I was interested in a making images with the immediacy of posters).

This portrait of Christian was the starting point:

Using a technique that evolved while I was making digital composites, I began to obscure the image of Christian’s face, with elements from shots I’d taken around the city – accidental paint marks, discarded objects and the damage done to a van door.

The digital process typically takes a couple of months of adding, subtracting and revisiting. At a certain point the image began to reveal itself. The trick is to not overdo the composition, leaving room for the painting to come into its own.

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Once a composite is finished I print a copy and impose a grid over it. The print is used as reference when sketching the main elements of the composition onto a canvas. Psst! (Orange) took about three months to paint. Materials used were watercolour pencil (for sketching out the image) and acrylic paint and mediums.