Andy McKean: Galloway Seasons Project

During the Covid 19 pandemic period of lockdown, in 2020/21, I embarked on a
radical departure from my usual work, in a project to produce four large paintings
representing the Galloway Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. These are
in a geometrical abstract style, partly influenced by the later, strong colour, works of the artist, Bridget Riley. These are much larger than my usual paintings. For this I chose a
square format, using wooden panels, 91 x 91 x 5 cm.
Although the end products of this work are abstract in form, they were very loosely
derived from four images in my back catalogue of conventional landscape paintings.
The geometry was based on a grid superimposed over the images, with each square
on the grid subdivided into 4 irregular quadrilateral shapes with lines angled to pick
up salient features in the original paintings. The horizontal and vertical zig-zag lines
so formed create an oscillating tension with the square grid, which is also picked up in
the variation of hues and tones between the shapes. Each was to be a single flat
These ideas were developed in A4 sketches produced initially for each of the four
paintings, using artists’ coloured pencils. The part of each sketch selected for
working up into the final paintings were 5 x 5 grid squares (25 in all), each square
containing 4 quadrilateral shapes (100 in all). These were enlarged by scaled
measurement and drawn onto the panels, which had been double coated with white
gesso primer.
The paintings themselves were executed using acrylics, in a ‘palette’
consisting of 14 colours, plus black and white. Each of the 100 shapes was mixed and
painted entirely separately – no two shapes are the same colour, although many of
the shapes used a large proportion of white. For the most part, the desired
alternating or oscillating effect emerged first time, with only a few minor adjustments
later, mainly to increase or reduce contrast between adjacent shapes.
The last of the four paintings was completed in September 2022.