Sunday, 12 December 2010

A million magic crystals

Until a few days ago, these were two finished paintings. I hacked them apart and started again. They may be heading somewhere new. They may not be. It is too early to tell. One thing for sure is that they look different to the last few paintings.

About to be writ again

Stop thinking about what you don't have and enjoy what you do (20"x16")

Insert self improving message here (16"x12")

Two more that might well be finished, although I'm not fully certain. The top one may have too many colours.

Thursday, 9 December 2010


There has been more painting going on here than there has been for a while. This piece is one of the newest ones and it is going somewhere a bit different. It is at that exact stage where it looks like it could be finished now but I know needs something more.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Saturday, 20 November 2010

New layers

The experimenting goes on. These two have been gradually evolving over the past few months. They've both got a long way to go. The newest addition is Lazertrans.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

And finally

Absorption, interpretation, neglection, repetition, 20x16"

Seek and you may find, 16x12"
These two have been hanging around unfinished for quite a long time now, passing though several incarnations each before arriving at what you see above. These are the first two canvases I've completed since May [Ed. What about 'I go to sleep?'] and they feel like they are moving things on.

Saturday, 25 September 2010


Untitled work in progress, 16x12"
 I went too far with this one a few week ago. I've been looking at it ever since. Yesterday I had a go at it with some white paint and a litte ink. It looks a bit better now. A bit. Still a long way to go...

Thursday, 23 September 2010

I go to sleep

I go to sleep and keep grinning, 20x16"

Wow. A finished one. How unexpected.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Not much order here

I don't really know where this is going right now. I've been looking at it for a few weeks now. The chaos I am happy with. Order, however, I am finding hard to, well, find. As above, so below, I guess.

The instant photo is not fixed yet. It is just a thought. It may move. The orientation may slip back to upright as well.

Friday, 27 August 2010

I go to sleep

Last week's works in progress are still in progress and unfortunately in a less finished state than last week. I shall persevere and perhaps next week one or both will make another appearance. In the mean time, I think I have finally put this bugger to rest.

The canvas has had more incarnations that a thing with a lot of incarnations. It started out a few years ago as a pop art flower, before impacting with a night of out-of-this-world Sun Ra tributary music . This incarnation suffered from the never knowing when to quite problem, before being pushed into an even stupider place.

At the end of last week I spread some very lumpy plaster on it and then prompty ignored the resulting mess, figuring that once again I had made an arse of it. However, when I was stuck waiting for the other two works-in-progress dry, I had a little fiddle with it. A drippy, splashy fiddle. I then left it too to dry.

A few days later, I was sorting through my pile of text and something in the 'grinning' quote and this one just clicked. I had a slightly sinister chuckle, then spent longer than seems feasible figuring out where the text would fit on the canvas. Eventually I got it to work (the canvas is now flipped 180º from its earlier incarnations), before adding a little garden twine and declaring it finished. (Well, for this year!)

Friday, 20 August 2010

Red return

Untitled work in progress, 20x16"

Untitled work in progress, 12x16"
After so many, many months of inactivity, this week I have finally applied some paint to a surface using implements. It felt good. Very good. I don't know where I'm going with these, there is no plan behind them, no thoughts or intentions. Unthinking, subconscious work seems the best way forward right now. Thinking and planning can come once I've got back into the swing.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Shouty man

Shouty man, originally uploaded by stewartbremner.

My focus is elsewhere at the moment. But who am I shouting at?

Friday, 4 June 2010

Lagrangian points

My two new exhibitions are now up. Those of you who can't make it to the venues can catch the work here.


Friday, 28 May 2010

To też przeminie

An appropriate message for a day when shit just keep on going wrong. (See, they're all the same message.) Textures and washes underneath stencil and enmeshed string.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Thoughts on strings and things

The Lagrangian series is about balance, about finding the point between order and chaos where the two divergent forces exert an equal pull. In this respect it as as much a reflection of the world as it is a personal exploration of the artist's psyche.

The forces of chaos come first, represented by the rough, swooping texture of plaster, the bedrock on which everything else is built. Next come the random daubs, splashes and splatters of paint, that run across the works, still an element of chaos but one where the creator's hand is more evident.

Order's first implementation is through the dividing strings, that dissect the canvas, a fencing-in of areas that reflects our most basic urges to divide reality into mine/yours, us/them, here/there, to divide and conquer nature. The colouring of these areas then adds to and strengthens the imposed order, yet is never able to entirely disguise the chaos below. There is therefore no single part of the canvas where either order of chaos are completely dominant and so a balance is achieved.

The text in representative of society, our lives and our communications. The words themselves become almost meaningless, instead rather it is the balance achieved between the phrase (the many) and the single word (the individual) that is the focus. However, in each individual canvas, a further balance is sought between the meanings of phrase and the single word. What can at first seem to be a phrase with a single, ordered meaning, is pulled into question by the ambiguous comment. A balance of sorts.

(notes for future thinking)
*What is the significance of the landscape drawings?
*What is the reason for using harmonious colours?
*Why, as ever, do I always seek to disguise my brush strokes?

Friday, 21 May 2010

Status update: nine days to go

These ones are (yes) finished. (There, I finally wrote it.)

Don't need no sympathy 

Don't leave a light on for me

Existing in the impossible space inside binarism

Neither moving not particularly thinking, just being

You were sometimes hard to find

Thursday, 13 May 2010

It won't be long

At last I've managed to create something I quite like. The angles were formed with thread on the wet plaster surface, very quickly and with little pre-meditation. Now to see if I can build a series from this. Damn. I think I'm calling this one finished!

Hold onto this

Another not right piece here. I think I was intimidated by its larger size. The composition and balance is all wrong and the leaf looks completely out of place. This has been sitting about for a few weeks and I'm no closed to finding a solution for it. The clock is ticking now, though.

Not of the past

Hmm. Too much going on here by a good long ways. I've no idea how I'm going to fix it.

Canvas D strikes again

It won't lie down and die this one. After weeks of staring at the broken plaster, I decided that it looked crap and hacked it all off. Where this will go next is beyond me right now.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Pixels by Patrick Jean

Small and cracked

This one has been stewing for a few weeks now. It has seen a lot of action, a lot of significant change. I added some drawing to it this morning, which I am in two minds about.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Canvas D

This one has been on the go for a few weeks now. It's undergone a fair amount of change since it last appeared here and yet I am still uncertain of it. Somehoe it has become more of an assemblage than a painting. Is this what I want to do? Don't I want to actually use a brush on occasion? I think I may wish to.

The main relevant question here, though, is is this finished? Don't answer that, because I'm not going to. At best, I may call it 'almost ready' or something similar. None of that talk of being finished, thank you very much.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Space is the place

In a week dominated by words, there has been little time for painting. And much of the time that there was was taken up with something of a misadventure, which is going to reming hidden for the time being, until it reaches even slightly something that I'm remotely happy with.

This piece was started mid week, listening to a steady diet of Sun Ra. It is a start, no more, and will be changing a lot in the coming weeks.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Esto también pasará - revised

I should probably have held off until today to post this one. As it was, the changes I had planned to make to this when I last posted it were all that it needed. This one (whisper it) might even be finished.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

More (almost) newness

I've updated my site today. There were a few paintings that I had not got around to shooting, which I wanted to add. These date from mid-winter and were made when I wasn't quite certain where I was going and so instead reworked some existing pieces, whilst I mulled over ideas.

I've also added most of the on-going pieces that have been shown here over previous weeks. All of these can be seen in lovely big, zoomify-sized images.

A world of new

New versions abound today. First up are the new versions of canvases A, B and C. These have been on-going for a few weeks now and I think may finally be nearing an end stage.

Canvas A has had minimal changes from the last time. I've added some drawing and a portion of a photo, no more. I don't think this one is likely to change again.

Canvas B, however, is quite a bit different from last time. Here there are more washes of colour, as well as some very obvious splattering, which does indeed have a slight unwelcome pink tint (note to self: always be sure and clean your implements). There are also two different layers of drawing, much of which I have now obscured, and a poem. Yes. A poem. It may be a touch pretentious. Deal with it.

Canvas C is the most changed. I was quite unhappy with this in its last guise and have therefore greatly reworked it: new plaster layering, a white wash, re-tinting the letters, orange splahes and a stamp. (I like stamps.) Lastly I added a little drawing. I'm still not certain how I feel about this one but time will tell. I've put it on the wall, along with the others, to consider over the coming weeks.

Esto también pasará

This one has been hacked about quite a lot in the past few days. I've already covered over quite a lot of what I first did to it and I expect more of that is going to happen yet.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

You will not die, it's not poison

I've got a lot of ideas swimming about in my head at the moment. Adding typography to my paintings is one of them, the idea being to add order to what is otherwise chaos.

My liking for type comes from my work as a magazine designer and for me that absolutely represents my ordered side. I enjoy it greatly and trying to find ways to bring that into my painting is a challenge. So far, I've been sticking to painting simple large letters. Here I've gone for a different approach entirely. I'm really pretty happy with how this has turned out, although ideally the paper would be thinnner.

There are a few other things here worth mentioning. The first is an addition of a photo, which I attempted to merge into the painting. I'm not too happy with how this particular instance turned out and so have covered a lot of it up with the type.

Secondly, there are the wires that are strung between carpet tacks, hammered into the outsides of the stretcher frame. I like how this looks and will almost certainly try it again. Hopefully I can get them to rust as well next time, although that may well might require using chemistry, which will almost certainly hurt my head.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Number nine is not number nine yet might be the first finished

This is the first piece that I think might be finished. It is the first one where I am happy with both the balance and number of elements. To begin, I laminated a bunch of dead notebook pages onto one part of the canvas. A few days later I began the plastering layer. Rather than wait for that to dry, I immediately painted into and over it but was unhapy with the results. When I added more, it got worse. I then mixed some drawing ink and PVA and splatted that around and about. It got worse again.

At this point I was on the verge of giving up on this one and letting it dry completey, before painting over the whole thing and starting again. Instead, I got out the palette knife and mashed everything together, except for the stringy black PVA strands. These I picked off and dumped over the notebook pages.

Oddly, this last-ditch, f**ck-it approach pulled everything together. So I added in the blank Instax photo, a few more orange splashes to balance things out and left it to dry. The next day I knew that it needed a large number 9 in the corner (I added two) and then a few more odds and ends.

The two most sucessful features for me where the last two added. The penultimate was the ink drawing, based on a light-trail photo I took last year. I've been trying to work drawings into my paintings since canvas A but this is the first time I feel it has really worked.

The final element, and the one I'm most excited by today, is that orange-ish strip in the centre. It is a long slot cut through the canvas, cross-stitched and backed with a mis-printed photo. The photo is stuck on the back in a D-shape, giving depth.

I've had this idea of cutting into the canvas in my head for many months, yet this is the first time I've put it into practice. It has worked exactly as I had hoped it would. This is great because I've got quite a few more variations on this idea I want to explore. So watch this space.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Canvas C

I thought for this painting, I'd try a little harder to keep track of the stages it goes through. The previous two works-in-progress that I have uploaded here don't give quite as clear an indication of how they progressed, concentrating, as the mostly do, on details. Therefore this time I set out to make a record of the pregoress of this painting.

First up is the simple plaster background layer, with the main 'erosion' drips running across it. Once this layer hard dried, I cut out a space for the instax self portrait photo.
Next up is the lettering layer and a splash of black ink and some other little odds and ends.
Finally there is a skyline drawing, filled below with a faint dark wash. This is overworked with some strips of a mis-printed photo and some oil and water colour mixing. There is also probably more ink here.

As with the previous two canvases, this piece is not finished. I'm still feeling my way about with this and don't yet know where it will go. Right now I am in two minds about this piece. On one hand I like the more obvious layering of elements, which is one of the things I've been trying to achieve. On the other hand, it feels somehow like a student project, a little amateurish, maybe even slightly tacky. I can't put my finger on exactly what is giving me this impression, whether it is the overyl clashing colours or just that there are two many disparate elements. I'm going to have to think about this one for a while, before I come back to it.


English Russia » Ekranoplan

Check the link. Many, many more shots of this bizarre beast.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Canvas B

I started this one last week, you may recognise a small part of it. Since then, I've added quite a bit to it.
My primary intent here is to try to marry painting and photography. This is not the only method I've thought of for trying this, but it is the first to make it onto canvas. I'm not certain of its sucess. I'm also uncertain as to whether or not to work on this piece more. There are several parts of this that I like, however it doesn't feel finished yet.

As with canvas A, I'm going to put this away for a while and come back to it. (By which point I'm sure I'll be really wishing I had got the b straight.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


Canvas 'A', as I am rather obviously calling this at the moment, has been simmering away for a few weeks. I think I might have been cooking it too long. There was a point last week when I was happier with it but I've gone past it now. What I really need to do now is to put it away somewhere for a few weeks and come back to it fresh. Maybe it will be cleared then.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Lagrangian point

I've spent ten years filtering my creativity though the ordered side of my personality; the chaotic side was utterly banished. It was never a conscious choice, in fact almost entirely the opposite. I became disconnected from my art because it was an expression of only half of who I was – an utterly ordered person is not the same at all as one who walks the line between order and chaos.

An Lagrangian point is a point in space between two astral bodies where their gravitational pulls are equal and so cancel each other out. A third body placed at this point will be attracted towards neither and will remain stationary. This is where I want to be, in between order and chaos, feeling the pull of both but moving towards neither.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

A happy 'accident'

For the past few weeks, I've tinkered away with the brown painting. Some time during the middle of this week, even though it is by no means finished, I put it aside to begin work on a new piece. Firstly, it felt like the brown painting needed a little time alone to simmer but secondly, and more importantly, there was something new I really wanted to try. It stemmed from a conversation I had last month with my friend Richard, when he suggested that one way for me to move forward may be to try to combine my painting and photograpy. Since then, I've thought of several ways to do so and this new painting is going to be mt first attempt at acheiving this.

For this post, I'm going to put that aside to concentrate on a small detail that I am enjoying particularly on this new piece. This idea was lifted from one of the things that happened on the brown canvas.

What I've tried to do here is to bleed one of my lovely, lovely orange paints out of titanium white, to wash across the canvas. A river of orange, so to speak. Later I added in some black ink, which has rather taken over. However the ink is water-soluable and is unlikely to remain where it is for long.

I like both the startlingly stark colour combination, against the relatively plain background, and the way that the colour cuts through the background texture.

Of course, looking at it again, I realise that it looks like I have a pet bird that eats orange paint and likes to stand on the edges of my paintings…