posted on November 7, 2008 at 8:34 pm

sometimes when i’m painting or making music
i feel like a detective
trying to solve mysteries
and track down the culprit elements
that are making my stuff less than perfect
n lemme tell ya one thing bout getting olde:
your demand on yerself for perfection goes up!
not that you can ever hit it
you cant…just accept that
but try kid try
go that extra distance to get it right
a few days back
encouraged by” natalie in lemurias” reaction
i started on natalie in lemuria 2
i wanted to relive the whole thing
wrong move for a start…why re-do an idea i already did?
i dunno
as i said to get all the attention the first one got
the first one does n doesnt look like my wife
you know
someone can paint ya
get it totally wrong
and still you might love the painting
or they might get it wrong
and you say
fuck this
it dont look like me at all…
on the other ‘and
they might get you right but you may really hate it
some people may see the resemblance n grok on
(can you believe “grok” doesnt get the red mis-spell underline!?)
there are infinite reactions to a portrait
portrait painting is difficult n tricky
i know ive botched loads of em
i shudder to think
only starting now to even get reasonably ok
so i started painting from a slightly blurry photo
another bad idea
at least have a good photo to work with
(i like it when they sit…..if they can keep still ;
beware : most sitters can’t !)
but anyway
i did my usual thing
i painted my big sheet of paper black
its like 3 foot by 2 foot
even this simple task is fraught with problems
now ive hadda figure all this malarkey out for meself
i aint no expert n i never had a lesson
but these are things ive deduced
with gouache painting one of the most important things is
getting the paint to go on smoooothly
yes this is not oil painting
you do not wanna slap it on with a trowel n build up texture
you do not want hard dried lumps sticking out like a relief map
that may work for oils or acrylic but not gouache
neither do i want runny olde washes like watercolour
(tho this can be done )
each colour in gouache has a slightly different consistency
and each brand too
and if youve had yer paints a while
they tend to go hard in the tube (mr humphries!!)
so with every individual tube you got a variable viscosity
there you foreign readers n sluggish gooseballs
look up the word viscosity in yer funk n wagtails
its a beautiful word…
so you need to add water my lovelies
be careful
some colours will not need any water
lemon yellow
bright orange
maroon n crimson
others like black n white
cobalt blue
they seem to neeed constant watering
keep your brush clean now, class
n pay attention
i used to add water to the paint via the brush
i now add it via a little eye dropper
it makes me feel like a real little scientist
getting my black n white more viscous
you gotta mix it up
so all your dollop of paint in your tray
is evenly liquid
too much water
gotta add more paint
the stuff is trying to set all the time
so you can mix it all up
and get a nice lil batch o’ black ready to go
and in 2 minutes its thickening up everywhere
too watery n itll go on as a dirty grey
so painting the sheet of paper black evenly
is no mean feat
it takes about half n hour
then you go back get the patchy bits
then you go back n get the patchy bits from the patchy bits
n wait for the whole thing to dry
(uh ah dont go working on it till its 100% dry, now…!)
ah ha
it just occurred to me
that most of you have no interest in this
and are hoping i was gonna write about my bass playing x-ploits
i got nks pic up
i got my dry black painted 6 square feet of blackness
i start the way i started the 1st one
apply white pastel with a sponge
approximate the shape of her face
then i subtract with the soft eraser
building up again if i go too far
i battled n battled n battled
i never got it right
i added nose n eyes n mouth n hair
there was something i had missed
i went over it n over it
the bits individually were ok
but it wasnt adding up to nk
it was just a stranger on the paper
i struggled n i struggled
like an art detective i went over it again
but i could never figger it out
the eyes were always too far up the face
the chin was too big
the nose was too long
i just couldnt get it right
nk was not jazzed with it either
so after 4 days of frustration
i painted over it again black
nk when she saw that: have you abandoned me?
i put up a mirror
n i started a self portrait
build up a mass of white on the black
then i start to subtract away at it
like a block of marble
i put some music on
i groove to some cool sounds
and i go off into spatial relationship world
i fiddle around ..half on half off
people ring up n i have conversations as i work on myself
(its no fun looking in the mirror when yer 54
but you gotta get over that n paint what you see)
i dont concentrate half as much as when i was doing nk 2
and that turns out to be good thing
i put pale blue eyes in
over the black holes my eraser had excavated in the pastel
i put the pastel on roughly n dont smooth it out
it forms weird patterns in the eyes
the eyes i work on for ages
eventually i snap out of it
and i got a really good pair of eyes
implying everything eyes should
i paint the pupils in… a little black dot
its going really well
the beard has a new texture
the jungle around is purple n red n crimson
looking more ornamental than real
but i like the effect
i was right to stop work on the one i couldnt get right
this one is one of my best ever ever
i’m gonna savour finishing it
there was so much i was gonna tell you
about the different brushes
and the pastel on the “tooth” of the page
and about perspective n shadow
n the secret to complete success
(as if i’d know!)
but ive run out of shoulders
another time
another blogge
aloha! ha!

17 Responses to “renee sonce , sleuth”

  1. avatar
    Jab @ BZT | 7 November 2008 at 10:31 pm #


  2. avatar
    Queen Hatshepsut | 7 November 2008 at 10:48 pm #

    Bite my easel! Cute. I rather enjoyed this actually. You gave me more insight to the creative painting process than I gleaned from teaching years of art history.

    It dawned on my I’ve no idea what NK actually looks like. Hmmm. I don’t even have a picture in my head of what I *think* she looks like.

    Oh and just remind yourself…when you’re looking in the mirror at 64 you’ll wish very much you were a mere 54. 😉

  3. avatar
    triantelope | 7 November 2008 at 11:45 pm #

    can’t you just use black paper..?

  4. avatar
    princey | 8 November 2008 at 12:04 am #

    It takes me back to college too, using that paint, I remember loving the smell of certain colours. I also remember those paints being very expensive too, it must cost you a fortune painting that size now! Can’t wait to see your face amongst the purple, red, crimson jungle…nice.
    Have a good weekend,
    love Amanda

  5. avatar
    Jasperina | 8 November 2008 at 12:23 am #

    Love the story about your evolving artwork. I find it fascinating to read those sorts of artistic thoughts. It is all about thinking isn’t it…that is the real beauty in making art… the way you start to is like nothing else. My favourite kind of thinking. What a beautiful world it would be if we all thought artistic thoughts most of the time. Peace, love and tranquility.

  6. avatar
    lily was here | 8 November 2008 at 12:40 am #

    You had me engaged from the start Picasso. You’re a better man than me. If my mojo isnt working i tend to leave things unfinished — sometimes for years! My tombstone will probably read ‘Here lies Lily.. to be continued’

    Hey, I would love to see some ‘in the process’ photos of your work SK


    ps I heard you and Ricky are down for The Triffids concerts at the Perth International Arts Festival 2009 (Becks Music Box) – 20-22nd feb !!

  7. avatar
    lily was here | 8 November 2008 at 12:43 am #

    ps tonight on SBS after rockwiz: Classic Albums, John Lennon – the Plastic Ono Band 10pm SBS

  8. avatar
    jax | 8 November 2008 at 12:59 am #

    Hey sk always like to hear about your creative process, cheers to Denise, remember?
    Oh.. sk when you do the mirror trick are you backwards? If you hold the self portrait up to the mirror are you back proper?

  9. avatar
    CAPTAIN BEYOND | 8 November 2008 at 1:32 am #

    paint me forest green…

  10. avatar
    steve kilbey | 8 November 2008 at 4:20 am #

    guess i am backwoods jax
    never thought of it that way

  11. avatar
    Hellbound Heart | 8 November 2008 at 10:11 am #

    backwards portrait reflected correctly in the mirror….kinda bizarre, do your head in if you think about it too much….
    i looked up grok on my computer’s dictionary and there is a definition….to understand something completely by intuition….so there you go, that’s why you don’t get the squiggly red line under it….saturday night and i’m looking up definitions on my computer, i need to get a life, perhaps…..
    love always…..

  12. avatar
    ross b | 8 November 2008 at 11:24 am #

    A dear friend of mine will be receiving a framed print of your Keith Richard tommorow for her 50th birthday (she won't be reading this)!

    Peacock hangs gladly at my mum's place, I'm very fond of that, lovely blues & flowers.

    I'm awestruck at how you do this so good and have never taken lessons!!!

    ..and now to watch Plastic ono band thanks for the reminder because i forgot aghh!

  13. avatar
    msm | 8 November 2008 at 2:09 pm #

    ok so matthew here, posting with my google-permitted id… I really dug reading about your art techniques SK- fascinating stuff! I did a some stuff with acrylics a while back, but havenae touched em in a good while… while my acrylic tubes gently weep… etc

  14. avatar
    davem | 8 November 2008 at 2:23 pm #

    Tell us more!!
    That was really interesting. Mrs M dabbles a bit, but I’m worse than the average 3-year old.
    I hope to be able to afford one of your originals one day.
    I think Holly offers a payment plan – but not with credit like mine!!!!!

  15. avatar
    12str | 8 November 2008 at 9:07 pm #

    master SK
    been sitting here sipping,smoking and playing….
    jangeling the 12 str along “hotel womb” “comedown” “judgement day” “disenchanted” “Tristesse”….What a bunch of classics!!
    what if i tried to translate your songs into the language of “Winterland”? i´m going to do this with the most ultimate respect for the original work..

    been singing the songs for years and years… it`s in my blood you know..
    looking forward to the struggle for words bringing the essence of your lyrics to life in another language.


  16. avatar
    steve kilbey | 8 November 2008 at 9:48 pm #

    ah pat
    translating my lyrics into swedish
    everyone used to laugh at
    under vintergatan i kvall
    ypu go guy!

  17. avatar
    eek | 9 November 2008 at 10:43 am #

    I love when you write about painting. Always inspirational to me.

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