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The possibilities of painting in crime-fiction...

We're done - final adjustments of the figure to show that he is walking towards the pub. I'm enjoying the tension between abstraction and figuration and the melding of ideas from the narrative and the visual.  Plus the tension of what lies beyond the black doorway...

Unexpectedly, the figure of Laidlaw himself is in the painting, adding interest. Once again, a figure walks into a painting, dragging the viewer behind, echoes of Stillman in the 'City of Glass' series'. After all, Laidlaw takes his Sergeant to meet John Rhodes in 'The Gay Laddie'...Enjoying the dense, smoky, moody colour too, the palette of Glasgow - sort of - endorsed by a couple of artist ftriends who know the city. 


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The red pub brings to mind 'Red Virginia Creeper' by Edvard Munch...



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A 6 a.m.start in the studio! Reworked the doorway and figure, both now with more presence and linking visually to the upward moving slabs on the left, the angle of the figure the same as the blue (6). Now, the figure is doing a job for the painting. One or two extra brushmarks, as you do, the red one below the line of the pub transformative...

Love the possibility/impossibility of the chimney being the return of the red line that leaves the canvas!


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WED 26 JULY p.m.

Simplication of the bottom-left corner frees up the shapes and a movement upwards (5). The strengthened shallow curve across the pub now links to the pale yellow dot of the City Morgue - a movement across. The figure is back (5) but not sure about how it is painted or whether the painting needs it. I sense the black doorway needs to be larger.  Need some clean brushes and another session! 


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WED 26 JULY a.m.

Getting closer (4). Enjoying the relationship between the twin images of the simplified grid and larger pub with the sinister doorway and high windws prominent. The canvas divide now comes into play, one of a series of verticals across the canvas. I'm tempted to put the figure of Laidlaw back in the right corner as a simple red sillouette.


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Tuning up colour, breaking up the the grid and taking out the figure but the painting has gone backwards. Disconnecting the grid and the pub was a mistake. I'm going to make the pub bigger, perhaps intruding into the left-side, locking onto the grid again, its physicality representing the violence within. 


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MON 24 JULY 2023

Working with 'facts from fiction'...

The ironically named pub 'The Gay Laddie' hangs from the red grid of Glasgow streets where the City Morgue, Police Station and hiding place of the killer are all in close proximity off the Saltmarket.(2). The pub is the symbol of unflinching 'hardness', violence and revenge.  The complex character of Laidlaw cuts through those attitudes: there must be a better way of placing him in the painting, possibly as white against the black doorway. Or not at all...


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