“This could be fun.” “Now comes the fun bit.” It’s immediately apparent from his enthusiastic commentary that Chris thoroughly enjoys his painting, and particularly the unconventional and sometimes risky methods of application he uses.
These techniques are the boundaries of the title, which is going to intrigue and have you wondering. Is it experimentation for its own sake? Just how wacky does he get? The answer is that Chris isn’t afraid to spatter – even masking fluid – to use heavy, opaque inks or oil pastels that act as a resist. So much of it looks like a barely-controlled series of happy accidents that you could almost wonder whether he doesn’t just throw paint at the paper and then see how it turns out. And yet all those random marks always seem to appear in just the right place. That enormous block of ink pulls and stretches into a winter tree and those blobs of masking fluid really do look like feeding birds.
There’s clearly something going on here and, as well as a lack of fear and a willingness to experiment, it’s a demonstration of immense skill. I almost want to say, “don’t try this at home”, but I mean exactly the opposite. You really should, and you also shouldn’t be put off when your doughnuts don’t turn out like Fanny’s – when what should have been a happy accident just looks like the aftermath of a car crash. You think Chris got it right first time? Of course he didn’t but his boundless and indomitable optimism had him going back until he understood how to manipulate pieces of card, toothbrushes and even a fingernail – “wonderful piece of drawing kit” – so that, even if the result wasn’t predetermined, it was at least foreseeable.
This is an exciting film (and how often can you say that about an art DVD?) that really will have you on the edge of your seat. Will the hero survive? Will there be a twist in the final reel? No spoilers here.
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