Tree as a Shape

Untitled Sicily, 2019, 32x46 cm, oil on Canvas, Michel Castaignet
olive tree 100×100 cm, 2015, oil on canvas

Lately I have been obsessed with a painting I did in 2015 while I was in Sicily. It’s the abstraction of an olive tree I could see from my window. It was at the time just a side painting I did one afternoon, I was then very much focus on making a very large painting called the Asphodels, but I also did several smaller paintings without putting much thought into it, and that’s one of them. After I exhibited my Sicilian work at gallery Maksla XO the year fater I kind of forget about it until it was shipped back to me, unsold. When I moved to Berlin in 2017, I hung it in my living room and since then I had plenty of time to look at it. This triangle on top of a stack of lines keeps hunting me since then. I made several little sketches, as usual and then I went on scaling it big, reproducing it on a 2mx2m canvas.

Oliven Baum, Castaignet
Olivenbaum, 2019, 200 x 200 cm, oil on Canvas

First I got rid of the trunk, I kind of liked it on the original painting but It was making it too obvious it was a tree, I prefered to keep it as simple shapes. Then the colour scheme puzzled me, so I decided to change it. I have been making very bright and colourful paintings in the past two years so I wanted something more neutral. Then the lines bothered me, so I covered part of them with something that could be some sort of shadow or a cache. I also introduced brushstrokes in the sky that could be read as clouds maybe and that broke a bit of the overall rigour of the painting and seemed to lighted the triangle.

I was there when I went back to France for summer time. On my return, I thought I would developped the landscapes you can see on the previous post, but this big painting was standing in my atelier, so I went back to it.

Untitled Sicily, 2019, 32x46 cm, oil on Canvas, Michel Castaignet
Untitled Sicily, 2019, 32×46 cm, oil on Canvas

The brushstrokes I had in the sky here looks like some kind of wings that support the triangle. So I went into this direction.

Untitled Sicily, 2019, 32x46 cm, oil on Canvas, Michel Castaignet

Untitled Sicily, 2019, 32×46 cm, acrylic on Canvas

Finally, maybe because of the colours or because of the wings, I thought that the painting was a bit “military”, so I decided I woould break it down a bit.

Untitled Sicily, 2019, 32×46 cm, oil on Canvas

So here I am now with this tree study. This week is the artweek in Berlin, so I won’t have time to paint. Then I’m going to visit Vienna for the artfair, so I’ll probably be back in the atelier early October. We’lle see then if i’m still working on this tree or else….