Work in Progress - July 2019 / by Pat Byrne

This month consisted of workshops and, at long last, some painting. The workshops were running every Tuesday for the month of July at The Dunamaise Art Centre and for 2 hours each night. Originally I was going to set up a still life to work from but it couldn’t be left set up from one week to the next so I got the group to work from photographs. Two of these images were what I made works from last year and the third was one that I never used. Everyone’s paintings turned out really well and for most it was their first time using oils so I had them working with a fairly limited palette, using 5 colours and ran over some mediums, canvas preparations and a couple of other bits . Following off the back of those workshops, I’m looking into sorting out a follow up session that will hopefully run for a little longer. I have some images of the group’s work below, I didn’t go mad snapping pictures because I didn’t want to be annoying them or stopping them working so I just got a few snaps before the start of the workshops on week two and week four. When the follow up goes ahead it will be at Heritage House in Abbeyleix

Back in the studio I finally started painting this piece that I have been doing research for and sketching since April and it got off to a rocky start. When I start a painting, I draw it out on paper, sort out anything that I want to sort, trace the drawing and then transfer it over onto canvas. This process was a necessity in this case because I want to keep the canvas clean so it was a way of keeping pencil lines where I want them. The problems started when I tried to transfer the drawing, the first time, I’m not sure why, maybe the pencil wasn’t soft enough, but it didn’t press onto the canvas. Sickened, I traced it again using a softer pencil, this time the trace moved and one section ended up where it was meant to be, then continued on an inch higher than it should have been, I was annoyed and thought will I just turn this into a glitch painting. I stretched the canvas a third time in not so great lighting, I transferred the drawing , it went on perfect and I was happy, until I turned on the light and saw that there was a wrinkle running the width of the canvas that priming didn’t get rid of, so that was ripped off the frame again. I ironed the canvas twice, I stretched it a fourth time, I traced the drawing with a 5B pencil fairly heavily, I stuck the trace with the strongest tape I had and finally got a result and now I have the painting underway and I’m about two and a half weeks into it.

I’m happy with how the painting is going, I think I’ll be working this way for the next body of work too. I struggle to finish paintings, I think maybe because when they’re done there’s a feeling of separation or something whereas with this way of working it’s open to the possibility of adding to it until it goes to exhibition at least.