When you’re working on a piece, sometimes it doesn’t go as planned. Sometimes it goes horribly wrong and the more you try to fix it, the worse it gets. In your head you’re thinking, Should I kill it? Is it dead already? Then the other half of you is going, If I give it a bit more love, maybe it can be saved, maybe I can rescue it. And then after you slap it around a bit, you think F#%k it, I’m gonna put a scalpel right through its belly and be done with it. The question is When to kill and when to love?
If I hadn’t lost my phone, you’d be able to see the blow-by-blow struggle I had with this piece. The only indicator I can give of the struggle is this image which was from the very, very start of my battle.
A quick bit of background. This is from my current series called Dark side of the Road, it’s kind of a commentary on rural landscapes, how we think they’re so natural but in reality every inch of ground has been impacted by the hand of man.
So the big thing about them is hugely bright backgrounds, stunning colours, cheery colours that mask the darkness of the subject matter. So this picture was flawed from the start. I was trying to put hay bales on a straw coloured background. Like beige on beige. Totally against the motif of the series. But I thought This one might be different, maybe the similar colours might have a subtle but striking impact. Wrong.
On the straw-coloured background, I lay on a field of browns and yellow hued paper, collaging the field, trying to make them look like harrows. I know it’s not working but I keep going. Then I paint the background white. Wrong again. Then I build up the hay bales, in big bricks of paper. Wrong, wrong, it looks like playschool. I’m ready to kill.
Purple was my saviour. I start cutting strips of purple for the side of the bales in the shade. And I like it. It gives off a weak pulse. I complete all the bales and realise the sky needs reworking. So the pale blue comes out but the ground is still wrong. It’s only after I rework the entire field that I think, I can save this.
I almost gave up on this one. I think if I had a spare canvas at home, this would have been in the trash. My advice, battle it out to the death, wrestle that mother until it either beats you or you beat it. There’s no tie when it comes to art, there can only be one winner.