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  • Writer's pictureJess Bateson


Today, I felt as though my paintings were a bit too busy. I just wanted to take a few days to explore a more simplistic style. To do this I was looking into the work and practices of Ken Goshen, he is known for his painting masterclasses, workshops, and challenges. One that speaks to me right now is the 18 brushstrokes challenge. This practice helps to reduce the amount of time wasting, filling in, and silly mistakes you make with your media. It makes you think about where you are going to put your paint and how you can simplify a painting. He also does ones where you have to work with only 3 colours or one where you have a time limit on them.

The first one I did, I didn’t like. I was still trying to overcomplicate what was already a complicated photograph with my choice of colours. I can tell what it is because I painted it; it is a torso with an arm stretched across it, but I’m not too sure anyone else will.

This is the second one I did, and I think it is a lot better than the first because you can tell what it is straight away. I think I have kept within the guidelines of it staying simple, mainly because I have only used one colour also the perspective seems correct. Strange, as I was so limited to my mark making.

With this second painting, I preferred the half-finished picture mainly because the other one is too overdone and badly executed, in my opinion. If I’d had painted a shadow for the eye instead of getting in the lid, eyeball, highlights and everything, it would’ve been more successful I feel. Then again, this is something I will do next time, and I will eventually have a good quality painting without the busy nature of layer and layers of paint.

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