“All Art Aspires To The Condition of Music” is a Delphic phrase that I aspire to translate, to decipher.
As a painter I know that nothing can move one so pungently as music – and as I aspire to achieve something of that condition.
For me that something is in colour, and to explain what I mean, I will have to go back a bit.
For years and years I earned my living teaching and painting plein-air landscapes, and it is the landscape that has shaped my ideas on colour.
As I say to the students, “When you are wondering how to mix up that colour, ask yourself first
What tone is it – how light or dark?
What is the warmth of the colour (how much yellow, how much blue)?
What colour is it? – oxide of chrome green with a touch of Mars violet maybe?
Without the first two criteria being correct the colour will probably jump and jar.
But on the other hand if you want to paint yon green tree red, if you get the tone spot on, and the temperature right, there is a good chance it might just work.”
For me this approach liberated colour.
One can paint yon cottage and tractor shed in pink and grey or, if you so choose, ochre and violet, if the tones and temperatures are right they will cohere, but have a vastly different emotional charge.
Ones colours may be loud bright and clear – Luxe et Volupte (primary blue and yellow maybe)
Or melancholy (how sombre is indigo with umber)
All moods are expressible with different colour combinations.
In fact I think the pleasure of seeing colours reacting to one and other is very similar to the aural pleasure one can get from juxtaposed sounds.
Then there is the application-this is how the colours meet one another.
Van Gogh’s percussive chunky brush strokes mean something quite different to the soft edges, the glissando of wipe-it-again-Sam (Fullbrook) even though the colours may be the same.
Then there is the composition – how to hold all this together on a rectangle etc.
But that is enough for the moment.
All these factors take time. There is so much balancing of tone, temperature and chroma, that at the very least (my personal record) a month to complete a picture. I enjoy the slog of these paintings, it allows me to pack a lot into them.
Because of my slow production, I have to sell paintings as I go and this show at GFL contains a lot of work that has been sold over the last few years.
This is my first show in a public gallery after an absence of eight years. It has been so long that I am occasionally asked “Are you still painting?”
– George Haynes, 2007