Inspired by… Cubist paintings

I was never much of a fan of  Cubist portraits.  But when I discovered Cubist still life, I was far more intrigued.  Braque’s “Violin and Candlestick” is an abstract still life with tantalising glimpses of the objects it avoids representing.  Braque and Picasso did a whole series of paintings in this style.  I love the way the objects in seem to emerge as you look at them, resolving themselves into something identifiable as you contemplate them.  Recently I saw E.E. Cummings’ painting “Sound” in an exhibition (did you know E.E. Cummings did cubist painting?  I didn’t).  It gave me the impression of shapes having been slid past each other into new configurations.

So, I decided to try taking a still life, cutting it up and sliding it about.

Masking tape was my friend here.  I cut and slid strips in one direction, taped them together on the back, and then cut and slid in the other direction.

The next step was to trace this onto a new piece of paper, and join up the lines in a fairly arbitrary fashion.

I used carbon paper to transfer the image onto a canvas board, and used acrylic paint to block in the areas.


Then I added definition in a few areas, bringing back some depth to the flat blocks of colour.  I built up layers, using oil pastel and a transparent layer of glass paint on top in some areas, leaving other areas matt.  It was all a bit of an experiment, but I think it achieves the effect of suggesting objects while still being a heavily abstract design.


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