Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Brett Whiteley ponders fate


Harry Kent, Brett Whiteley ponders fate, oil on canvas, 50x60cm

I'm seeking to make non-conventional images about an unconventional painter - my own images that express something of my own sense of the man and his art.

Why paint this way? I'm searching for expressive power and freshness. I'm turning to pure colours straight from the tube, mixing only on the canvas, for freshness and saturation. I'm turning to colour to carry emotion rather than produce accurate physical likeness.

How to render hair in a way that is not simply 'painting in'? How instead to trust in the agency of the medium to supply a myriad of marks which suggest hair texture? How to rely on plastic qualities of oil paint like paint viscosity, fluid dynamics of solvents, effects of suction and gravity? How to do enough yet not do too much?

detail from Brett Whiteley ponders fate

This painting is part portrait and part Rorschach. It was made the same way an inkblot is made.

Its ambiguous marks rely on the viewer to read form and meaning into the work.

Without the viewer this portrait would not be complete.

So thank you, gentle viewer, for visiting this blog and finishing this portrait for me.



  1. Good Evening Harry,
    To put it was a pleasure to do so!


    1. Always a pleasure to have you say so, Gary.


  2. I love the almost abstract feel of it. I love the structures of the paint, you have to look very close to see it. Thank you for the detail. Wonderful colors as well Harry....

    1. Yes, that's the trouble with photos instead of being with the actual painting - all the texture and detail is lost in a general snap. And when dealing with Expressionist work that relies heavily on the paint handling for its very reason for being, it becomes a real issue.

  3. Hi Harry. It's a pleasure to the stages this mono print took. I always enjoy seeing another artist's process. I see you are engaging your negative capability by using the agency of the materials. The textures are what's drawing me in.

    Remember I mentioned collagraphs? That process lends itself very well to color and you get multiples. You can see one my old efforts on my website. I'd give you a link but my new iPod won't let me type an underscore.

    The collagraph offers a very painterly result in a print with multiples.

    1. Thanks for understanding what i'm on about, Davida.

      Yes, since you mentioned it last time ive been checking out collagraphs. Some great Youtube clips available. Looks like a lot of fun with interesting results. One more thing to try!

  4. Harry,

    I've been observing all your Brett Whiteley pieces...stunned by every one. The problem for me is that your work is so complete/brilliant that I am dumbfounded. I simply can't think of anything more to say. I adore your work...find so much inspiration there. So please forgive my infrequent comments. I'm out here and hungry for each new post...but post infrequently out of respect :o)

    1. Candace, what a timely and wonderful comment! Thank you so much. I'm very touched by it.

      I've been having the sense lately that i'm boring the pants off bloggers by hammering on about Brett Whiteley and imagine it probably all looks rather naive and second rate.

      I sail on blindly, groping for marks and images that will express what's on my mind in my heart. But that journey has been feeling lonelier lately.

      You are such a consummate painter. I have nowhere near your discipline or talent. Last time i visited your blog i didn't even feel worthy to leave a comment. So i too have been very infrequent in commenting and not through lack of interest. How silly we can be, when all the while i fall ravenously on what you write.

      Yet i'm also trying to understand the blogging phenomenon. I sort of feel bloggers in their first rush of enthusiasm last year or the year before are now more relaxed, or tiring. Routinely making your way round blogs, unless that itself is one's hobby, can actually be quite an impost on time that should be spent painting.

      So despite the immense lift you have given me today, i also know that we art bloggers need to see our community as a long-term thing.

      Not every post needs to be commented on. Not every blogger needs to be heard from every other day. Maybe keeping in touch over the months, and the sustained interest and loyalty that that demonstrates, is in itself very meaningful.

      So thanks once more, Candice.

      Big hug.

  5. This portrait is wonderful Harry!
    you got a very expressive power here,
    when you let the paint work with you
    and not for you; the result is a painting living, breathing emotion.
    The detail of the hair is very organic.
    I admire that your proposal.
    a big hug...

    1. Thanks so much, Denise. Interesting what you say about 'organic'. I think it's the product of fluid dynamics rather like sea's eddies left in sandstone cliffs.

  6. Dear Harry. The question about the results only apears after you tired your emotions. The shape, the balance is an impulsive brain-hand goodmade!
    I like the way you "fight" in art!
    Have a awesome day!

    1. Thanks Jaime. Yes, expressionist painting is the result of emotional struggle. That is the fuel it runs on and its reason for being. I'm encouraged that you see that in my work.

  7. Hey Harry
    The result of this work is:
    Too much freedom and courage to try to escape the image of the picture!
    Free forms and cheerful
    Amazing color combinations,
    The image of the hair is really fantastic!
    Congratulations for you have achieve your intended goal :)

    1. Hi Paulo. You are very kind in your comments. Knowing how bold your use of color is, i was hoping you would like these works. Thanks, friend.

  8. This series is awesome Harry - I specially love the Whiteley in Blue. You have the amazing capacity to be successfully different.