Monday, 21 February 2011

Late Night Last Suppers

Every Friday and Saturday since early January I have been doing twelve hour shifts painting and repainting the upper room for the Last Supper (the commission for Langside Church in Glasgow, Scotland).  I feel more like a painter and decorator than an artist as it seems I have been painting the walls and the ceiling of this "upper room" for ever.

But it is coming on, slowly. Remember it is over three and a half metres long and I am incapable of using a brush larger than a quarter of an inch across.  Basically I am still blocking in shapes and areas of tone whilst attempting some colour. I always redo the backgrounds in my paintings a quite a number of times.
Its just the way I work in oils, building up layers of paint, scraping them back and forming textures that look less like paint on a canvas and hopefully more like paint on an old plaster wall. Have a look at some other paintings and you'll see what I mean. Because this painting is a large one by my normal standards it takes a full days work and more just to repaint the back wall or ceiling or whatever. It also gives me the chance to get the colours and tones just right when I decide to redo it. But being so large it takes ages. Still, at least the studio is warm now after the heating broke down during January's big freeze.

But progress is being made and I am happy with what is starting to come together now in terms of atmosphere and lighting. Soon I hope to start on the fun bits, namely the figures and portraits. Keep in mind, the last one (for which this is the replacement) took me almost eighteen months to complete. So with this one there is still a long way to go.