Tag Archives: expressionist work

Dancing Paint

A painting may begin with just an idea or a stroke of the brush, but as Bill Barrell will tell you…. 

Dancing Paint
Dancing Paint, oil on canvas painting, 2009

– Paintings often spring out of nowhere. Working on a blank canvas for me is great.  I am not a format painter, so I am left free to look at things and feel things in a different way. Here in this work, I started out wanting to just deal with squares, or square-like shapes. The square shapes worked well alone, but I had a nagging feeling something could be added to make it work even better. It’s a bit of a gamble as one can take a perfectly good work and mess it up! At the same time – once the idea of adding to a painting takes hold, there is no going back.

Often this approach backfires and one can end up with an awful mess. However, when it works, it gives a great feeling of confidence. When it doesn’t work it means taking the mess you have made and heading in a totally different direction. I can never give up on a painting. I wrestle with it until it works.

One time in frustration at what was showing up on the canvas, I tore it into one inch bands and then braided the canvas back together. It worked well as it totally destroyed the image I was wrestling with and it resurfaced into a beautiful object that I could hang on the wall like a quilt.

This painting ended up quite well. The circle shapes did what I wanted them to do by bringing the square shapes to life. It’s as if all the shapes have dancing partners – they give each other motion. The surface becomes vibrant without being eye popping. I named this painting, “Dancing Paint.” –

The Argument – on canvas

This is a short one by Bill Barrell today. He had another blog all prepared and ready to go, but unfortunately we didn’t have the photo of the painting ready yet!  So, Bill was able to gather his thoughts about this oil painting, called “The Argument”, which has been a favorite of many for its color and verve. 

The Argument

– –  I had an argument once with my wife. I went to the studio and vented my spleen on a canvas. I could argue on a canvas.

Colours are very expressive and in this work, the reds and blues clash, seeming to release the anger I felt.  Meanwhile, the female figure is a calmer yellow. She is doing a Pygmalion and stepping out of the painting. Is she going to calm him or irritate him?  Who is that figure floating on the right? I think he is probably my spiritual referee. Of course, we will never really know as they are frozen in time.

 If we look at DeKoonings’ “Marilyn”, we see that he freezes her in space and time. She appears to be in motion but is going nowhere. This work is a fine example of what expressionist work is all about – catching that moment and freezing it. – –