Paints – Less can be more

Experimental abstracted painting can develop into stand alone works.

Behind many finished artworks lies a number of preparatory pieces made prior to commencing a body of work, to practice and study how paint moves using new or different techniques and procedures.

Developing as a painter is an ongoing process and an important part of the journey is to challenge and experiment with how paint can be applied and manipulated onto a surface. Before commencing a new group of paintings Andrew will often work on abstract studies and paintings in preparation for the finished representational pieces.

ABHolmes, oil on paper, untitled-14, 41 x 51cm
ABHolmes, oil on paper, alchemist, 50 x 65cm

As discussed previously, Andrew frequently explores any number of mediums and surfaces to gain a better understanding of the possibilities these have to offer. This exercise has two benefits. Firstly, to ‘get his head into the right space’ – particularly useful after completing a commercial project – and secondly, it supports his core interest of expanding his techniques to communicate ideas and aesthetics.

ABHolmes, untitled-06, 30 x 42cm

By using a limited palette the process can focus simply on mark making, and using black and white tonal painting has been Andrew’s traditional choice. While he tends to avoid the added considerations that colour brings, this study made in red not only shows a refreshing break in the monotone sketches but highlights how effective and powerful the use of colour can be.

ABHolmes, oil on paper, untitled-04, 57 x 76cm
ABHolmes, oil on paper, untitled-04, 57 x 76cm

During this period of experimentation the studio can resemble more of a laboratory with so many pots, brushes, tools and materials scattered and piled up on worktops, floor and shelves – and cleaning up afterwards can be a daunting task!

ABHolmes, oil on paper, untitled-10, 30 x 42cm
oil on paper, untitled-07, 57 x 76cm

The experimental pieces shown here were made directly before Andrew produced a small series of figurative paintings. In this piece below, a dog on paper, the use of some of these abstract techniques provided a route into achieving the background textures and brushwork.

Dog with stick, oil on paper, 56 x76cm SOLD

 Andrew works with a view to developing simple marks in his painting, to articulate a natural expression. His aim is for these now to become less complex and more fluent stand alone pieces.

ABHolmes, oil on paper, untitled-11, 30 x 42cm

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Artist and Illustrator