Friday, 10 June 2011


Stanza Acrylic on Canvas Tom Cullen 2011   

                                                          I completed the above canvas "Stanza" after producing some sketches at the Slade School of Art, London earlier this year. These early sketches experimented with linking painting to poetry and selecting colour on a more random basis without a mathematical sequence or any pre-conceived ideas.
                                            When working on the completed canvas,after placing the black acrylic underlay, I painted the first red square in the top left and I continued painting left to right. During this process, I selected  colour which simply seemed to work, ignoring any other rules such as whether the colour was warm or cool, primary or secondary, contrasting etc. As the lines developed, it became more complex because the colour selected had to work in relation to the others and it became important to maintain the overall balance in the painting. There is a pattern to the placing of these squares in 8-9-9-8 line format which links to the suggested concept of poetry. In addition, each colour is painted freely which hopefully conveys a sense of primitivism or even a child-like quality.Using a wide palette range of vivid colour on top of the black base provides vibrancy. In addition, I avoided  linear convention by breaking symmetry between the top and bottom /left and right of the canvas.
                                                           This  work is fundamentally, an exercise in the nature and life of colour itself to convey a sense of rhythm, harmony and freedom often expressed in poetry.Hoffmann once said "It is not the form that dictates colour but colour that brings out the form".Colour can set a mood,attract attention or make a statement. It can be used to energise or cool things down. By selecting the right colour scheme, you can create a feeling of elegance,warmth or tranquility or even convey a sense of youthfulness. Given this, I hope the viewer might feel a sense of some poetry whilst engaging in this colourful piece and maybe even the excitement of the child within.

"Colour is crucial in painting, but it is very hard to talk about.There is almost nothing you can say that holds up as a generalization, because it depends on too many factors: size, modulation, the rest of the field, a certain consistency that colour has with forms and the statement you are trying to make"
                                                                   Roy Lichenstein

Acrylic sketches on paper exploring colour and poetry

"Instead of trying to reproduce exactly what I see before me, I make more arbitrary use of colour to express myself more express the love of two lovers by the marriage of two complementary express the thought of a brow by the radiance of a light tone against a dark express hope by some star........someones passion by the radiance of the setting sun"
                                                                                                    Vincent Van Gogh
" Colour helps to express light, not the physical phenomenon, but the only light that really exists, that in the artist's brain"
                                                                                                         Henri Matisse