The integration of Gardeners

Having devised four gardening tasks and a meaningful representation as shown in 'Gardeners (1) I was inclined to integrate them into a single composition. This proved somewhat difficult, with many drawing large and small over a couple of weeks. I declined any representational 'four seasons' image and pushed further for something more. I needed a dynamic composition that would work as a whole rather that an assemblage of four figures, I began to add in a central bird bath column as a device to fix a central axis. I am not an advocate of painting freely to see where 'the paint' takes me, at this point, I need to realise a core objective. This drawing looked vaguely promising.

Left for two or three days I returned to the project for another attempt. This A3 charcoal idea seemed better, by aligning the standing figure loosely with the bird bath and with this axis crossed with the sower's table I could see a growing cohesion in the composition.

I prepared a canvas and primed it twice. 


Having the drawing in sight I mixed some dirty reds, dirty pinks, a green and some blue/grey. After suggesting some dynamic shapes in chalk, shapes that I refused to be figures, I then coloured the canvas with interlocking colours and left it to dry.

Returning to the canvas I considered colours. I find early Persian art a useful place to look as it takes me away from the expected, I found a piece that chimed with my feeling for the 'gardeners'. I mixed an apricot, sky blue and a rich terra cotta.

Again I drew on the canvas another rendering of the Gardeners, slightly perverse, incorporating eastern foliage and sweeping branches and figure suggestions.

Taking a course brush I painted negative spaces quickly with the apricot and then a sky and stream in blue. Touches of red were added afterwards. The attack lasted maybe 40 minutes.

This brings me to an interesting point in the work. I am pleased with progress, but will take time to assimilate what has happened. The danger now is regression. I will sit and look for a week perhaps until I know how to proceed, only then will I take a brush to it.  


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