The Crucifixion of Justice

So the first two images here of the newly stretched canvas, the paintings are on 150cm x 130 cm supports, stretched, sized and primed here, the grounds are RSG followed by a ‘distemper’ from an old recipe. I may paint the third in the series ‘Hope’ on a different, modern ground, sized with P.V.A. and primer from Gamblyn or Winsor and Newton.

I’ve had the ideas for this painting for some time and finally found a way to put it into my agenda for 2019. I’ll be painting it in good summer light and in the warmth of a large room that faces South. Yes Northern light is preferred but I can’t arrange for that in this house. I have curtains!

The subject is justice once again and particularly the brutal injustices reigned down upon women by religion. Non of these injustices have ever been apologised for, the main perpetrators, the Catholic Church, has never made a humble apology to womankind for the deliberately perverted sexual and physical torture of them throughout history.

The Pope should get down on his bony knees in St. Peter’s Square and beg forgiveness of women but instead as with all the abuses of humanity by the Catholic Church the, shitty little coward remains silent.


Here’s the progress I’ve made by late July, I don’t have a wolf and a horse at hand to pose for me, so I’ve used photos to arrive in the place where I want to be. Quite a way to go but I’ve made good progress, next is probably a complete ‘oil out’ with a chalk and sun thickened flax oil painting and grinding medium, that I prepare here according to a recipe of the amazing Louis Velasquez. At the same time I’ll soften and blend edges into the gloom of night and heighten the ‘luminous golden effect’ I want to get into the clouds.

So a long gap in posting on this painting 2019 was a terrible year for me with continued illness and a long stay in hospital, I’ve tried to continue painting but most of my artistic endeavour has been limited to thinking and drawing. One sketch that I plan to take further into paint is this one of an eagle’s claw squeezing the fist of a man. It’s intended to make the viewer think about what happens when you mistreat the natural world with contempt and the injustice seen everyday in man’s horrific mistreatment of a our wild genetic cousins.

So we’re here in late March 2020 and I’ve already spent another period in hospital with a serious leg infection, I’ve just finished after a year ‘The Crucifixion of Justice’, of course a painting is never finished, just abandoned and I’m pretty happy with the outcome, yes I can see things I could have done better but again I’ve learnt much from painting my second large work. I’ll be completing the third painting in this triptych – called ‘Hope’ – as soon as I can, I’ve as usual prepared the canvas myself, here it is, the under-drawing is next and will be seen in a new post for ‘Hope’

For now here is a lousy photo of the finished ‘Crucifixion of Justice’, I’ll post a better one at some point. I wish everyone good health in this time of a global pandemic. I wish that all countries had good, intelligent governance but unfortunately Trump is proving himself to be utterly stupid and really like a ship without a rudder. Speaking of which I intend to revisit, ‘Ship of Fools’ when I can see it in my minds eye. Bonne santé à tous.

One final technical point I want to make about this painting, something that annoyed me a lot! The background colour of this painting and its evil twin ‘Masters of Misogyny’ is ‘Vanydyke Brown’. Now I can mix this old favourite from Burnt Umber and Ultramarine, I just wanted to see if it was possible to simplify the process on such a large painting. Thus I bought V.B. by Michael Harding a manufacturer that I trust, based on using other paints by him such as Venetian Red and Prussian Blue. I knew right from the start by the way that the paint handles on the brush that there was something different going on here, I was right. Throughout the painting process, each time that I used it, it left a white haze at the edge of the coat. This was the last thing that I wanted on a dark surface.
What wasn’t mentioned in the literature about the is paint, neither from M.H. or the supplier Jackson art in the U.K. is that the paint contains wax. Thanks for that M.H., wax is not a surprise I want in my paint, I don’t use solvents in my paint which might have mitigated the effect of the wax and so it was just unwelcome. To me wax is a medium to be added by the artist to the paint, not by the manufacturer without mentioning it. One further flaw of this paint is that it dries super quickly to a matte finish quite like any other, a quick oil out on that part of the painting will save the day though. I suspect it contains a high level of driers
For the future, I’m going be so much more careful when using a paint I haven’t tried before. I paint with a limited palette so the paints I use are tried and tested. Frankly the unknown inclusion of wax in this paint caused me a lot of problems, which I have now hopefully fixed. The response I received from M.H. was unsatisfactory, to the extent that I ceased communicating with him, as life is too short to talk to people, who think that the only person in the world using glair in their paint was myself! There are thousands. I have pigments here, I’m going to make a lot of sun thickened linseed oil this summer and experiment with making my own paints.
I’ll be addressing my favourite paints soon in a post dedicated to that, ironically one of my favourites is made by M.H. so no negativity in his direction, just objectivity when required.