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Why I sometimes paint odd shapes

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tregeseal_tree.jpg The latest addition to my New Work page is the most recent in a series of what may seem to be oddly shaped paintings:

Some others have included chevron shaped compositions (which are simply square canvases that hang from one corner) like Leaving harbour, Newlyn, multiple chevrons (Kanorian Enev at Morvah) and triangular pieces (Stream flowing to the sea, Cot Valley). These are just some recent examples. In fact I’ve been experimenting with a wide variety of different formats since my student days in Italy when the altarpieces and sections of fresco decoration I came across in museums,  churches and monastries inspired me in that direction. The shape of the painting surface became an important part of the idea behind each of my pictures.

In every case there is a good reason for my choice of shape. Whether it’s one of the more unusual ones mentioned above or whether I choose to use a less unusual vertical or horizontal rectangle of particular dimensions, the choice will have arisen from something in the visual encounter that led to the impetus to create the piece.

In the case of the Cornish tree on the slopes of Tregeseal Valley the reason for the trapezoid shape arose from wanting to emphasise the way the tree has developed at this strange angle due to the saltiness of the wind from the sea. I also wanted to set this against the long diagonals of the hedges and valley shapes from lower left to upper right while keeping the contrasting lines of buildings and some of the distant field boundaries more abrupt for contrast.