The Art of George Manus
“I had a dream…”
‘THE DREAM’ – MY INTRODUCTION TO PAINTING – October 2019
Dreams are something we all become acquainted with throughout life. It is claimed by so-called experts that one can interpret dreams. How would we relate to an encyclopaedia that easily told us what our dreams mean? Probably several such exist.
The dream interpreters probably have their followers, but to what extent their interpretations have a fertile ground in scientific research or not, I know little about. Regardless, for many, it can certainly be good therapy to get an explanation for their dreams.
Daydreams however, which we have probably all become acquainted with, apparently have nothing to do with the dreams that we experience when we sleep.
“It is good if you have dreams about what you want to achieve – but only will and effort can lead you to fulfilment of your Dreams.” (From my book WORDS FOR THE ROAD III).
The dream I am writing about here happened on the night of the seventeenth of October 2019, before The Captain’s day in the Media Golf Society, which was the next day.
The first thing I did when I woke up and before I left to play the big day’s competition, was to grab my wife’s crayons which are always handy in the kitchen and put…..
GEOMETRICS By George Manus
George’s limited first release of his ‘Geometrics’ series, inspired by ‘The Dream’. *There is a limited print number of 500 each.
‘GEOMETRICS’ – Giclée PrintSEE COLLECTION
‘GEOMETRICS’ – Stretched Canvas on FrameSEE COLLECTION
‘GEOMETRICS’ – T-ShirtsT-SHIRTS WOMENS T-SHIRTS MENS
PEOPLE By George Manus
This is the first release from the series ‘We are all different’. These 10 paintings were completed during the second half of 2020. *There is a limited print number of 500 each.
‘PEOPLE’ – Giclée PrintSEE COLLECTION
‘PEOPLE’ – Stretched Canvas on FrameSEE COLLECTION
‘PEOPLE’ – T-ShirtsT-SHIRTS WOMENS T-SHIRTS MENS
‘THE DREAM’ – MY INTRODUCTION TO ART PAINTING, October 2019
The dream I am writing about here happened on the night of the seventeenth of October 2019, before The Captain’s day in the Media Golf Society, which was the next day.
The first thing I did when I woke up and before I left to play the big day’s competition, was to grab my wife’s crayons which are always handy in the kitchen and put the following little children’s drawing on the paper. It’s weird with the remembrance at my age, so I took no chances that the dream was just going to be a dream.
“If you manage to see a clear picture with your eyes closed, you have achieved peace of mind.” (Posted several months before the dream)
For me, this was, as far as I can remember, the first time in dreams I have seen a clear picture with my favourite colours. The image itself and the colours are still clearly on the retina, now two days later, and the strange thing is that I woke up and was awake for almost an hour before I fell asleep again. Without registering what I dreamed, the same image appeared just as clearly on the retina. I can remember nothing but the image itself and the colours.
MY FIRST ATTEMPT IN THE WORLD OF PAINTING
I have never in my adult life tried painting on a small scale, but a few days after the dream I went to acquire a selection of tubes of oil paint, a couple of plastic plates in A4 format and a bottle of turpentine.
My wife, who at times has tried a little water-colour paint, says she has enough brushes, so now everything is ready to get started.
My first attempt was to try to reproduce the image I had on the retina during my dream. It was completely uninteresting for me to start mixing colours. Here we were talking about colours straight from the tube. Black, green, blue, brown and orange. Canvases in A4 format were luxurious to start with so I had already been to one of the many Chinese bazaars in the area and bought a dozen white, 4-millimeter-thick white plates in A4 format, in one or another type of plastic. It was enough during the trial period. I do not know if one can call the result abstract, but at least it is not figuratively. The result is as like the image I had on the retina in the dream, as I remember it.
Even when I started with the black, I understood that it was something I had not expected. The paint did not appear to dry. As I was using five different colours, I was at least dependent on a certain drying before I could start with the next one, which in this case was the green.
How in the world can painters deal with this problem I thought and what tricks do they have when it comes to drying?
A completely different matter was that I immediately noticed that the plate I was painting on, just minutes after applying the paint, began to curl. Well, even the ignorant beginner gradually understood that here it was a question of counterweight, i.e. a coat of paint also on the back to compensate. Thus, that challenge was to some extent put behind. After all, these plates were only intended to be used in the start-up phase.
In connection with my book writing, I am in close contact with my friend Ole Praud in Denmark, essentially on Skype. He is my technical consultant and liaison to the publisher. In several of the books, a friend of his, Jan Arnt, who is an architect but also an artist, has contributed self-painted pictures.
I told Ole about my dream and that I would now try my hand at painting in between writing. When I mentioned my problem with the drying and we both laughed about the fact that I, at an age of 80 wanted to try my hand at painting, he promised to contact Jan Arnt to inquire about the drying.
Well, as I had started, it was never in my mind to stop.
After a few days, I received a feedback from Ole which clearly stated that I was completely astray. Jan Arnt had made it clear that anything other than acrylic paint for a beginner would be meaningless. It is water-based, I understand, with the advantages it has both in terms of drying and treatment otherwise.
Ole’s consultation with another artist friend further made it clear that oil paint needs about fourteen days to dry. Of course, I should have known this myself, as the name oil paint reveals that matter. Still, I had probably been in the starting trance after the dream, probably supplanted reason and reckoned that this is something the artists have mastered.
So, here I was with an incomprehensible picture, a series of oil paint tubes, turpentine and some dented plastic plates to paint on, but with a clear will to move on in one form or another.
I sat staring at the strange picture, which was my first work in the world of painting and tried to imagine how I should now grasp the whole thing.
Strange – I had decided from the beginning to use the A4 format or similar. One of the reasons for this was that we have long since “scaled down” from a house to a relatively small apartment, where space is the only thing we lack. One of three bedrooms is a kind of office where my wife has her PC with accessories and from where I do my writing. There is no room for any other activities. The second bedroom houses a bookshelf with what we have of books, as well as two beds that have never been used for anything other than storing clothes and other things that do not fit in any of the closets elsewhere.
The modest conservatory, where my wife’s cat Maxi lives when he is not with us, was thus the only choice when it came to my development of the art of painting.
With two large cardboard plates on the table that are 42 centimetres high, a plastic stool that is 27 centimetres high and otherwise all equipment placed in two plastic boxes, it only takes a few minutes to activate the equipment and otherwise clear space to make it ready for any other activities.
Easel and pictures of format, I get to start with in my next life, if otherwise the interest is maintained.
Maxi also seems to tolerate the intruder when he sits on a plastic stool at a height of 40 centimetres, in front of the table with the two cardboard plates.
One thing I also need to make clear right now is that, unlike most others who are trying out a new hobby, I am by no means the one who uses Google or other encyclopaedias to gain experience about my activities. With a minimum of schooling, I consider myself an autodidact, and think despite that, I have done reasonably well through life so far, by following my rule of thumb: You must learn from your own experiences and faults. In my opinion, everything becomes more challenging that way. Enough about that.
The first thing I concluded was that the black and green part could be considered a frame, but why it in my dream was limited to the right side and below the picture remained a mystery until this time. Many thoughts struck me already now, but the first thing I did was to add the missing part of the frame, which when it was put in place at least gave the impression that it was a picture, but without any understandable motive. All my five colours, and the contrasts of these, I was happy with. No mixing of colours, all straight from the tube. Based on my first picture without the whole frame and with thoughts swirling around why it was such a picture I had been served in the dream, I tried to see it all in a larger context.
Below is the missing frame together with the first picture, now with full frame.
Having produced a mirror copy of the original, I started looking for possibilities.
What if I flipped the picture, either to the left or up, as you see in the next two pictures? A corresponding extra frame where it is missing could form a new image, but since the motive in my opinion is not suitable as individual pictures, I did not bother to make the extra frames.
If you flip one of these doubles, you get the result below, which now consists of four images, of which the upper left and lower right are equal, and the upper right and lower left are equal.
The motive is abstract and without any intended meaning.
With the addition of two new identical images, as shown below, located to the right and left in the middle of the large image, suddenly six images have become a new one. Three of the six are equal, and all three are mirror images.
Below is a copy of the two new pictures in different positions, adding the missing frame. The same of course can be done with the others.
So far, I have come up with my first experiment in the world of painting. It all went well with the oil paint, with a small element of acrylic that I have used in the meantime, not least due to the drying.
I have long seen the benefits of acrylic for this type of painting, where in my opinion it should be about clean surfaces with individual colours.
At least in my next experiment I will stick to the same boards as canvas, although I guess they are in no way suitable later. Likewise, I intend to limit myself to the same colours.
MY SECOND ATTEMPT
As mentioned, I had enough canvas plates for the next picture, also consisting of six A4 pictures. The oil paint was hidden in one of the two plastic boxes and everything was ready for the next push.
As mentioned, the complete set of acrylic tubes was purchased and partly used during the first attempt.
The practical part is straightforward enough when you have created the motive.
Sketches, or rather rabble-rousers, where I drew the six squares into small scale on one A4 sheet, were the first step.
Then the frame was sketched and, on what then became the size of the picture itself, I started sketching without thinking of any particular motive. It had to be abstract anyway, as the idea with this procedure is that with the help of mirroring one should be able to let, as in this case where the total image contains of six small, three individual images become six and that together they also form a frame around the big picture.
I did not put much emphasis on the motive as mentioned, as also in this second attempt, it was just a matter of getting more acquainted with the idea.
Below to the left the first rabble and the basis for what was the result. (Notice the difference in the finished pictures, when it is hung one way or the other).
So, what does the image look like when I remove the middle two and reduce it to four instead of six small pictures?
If I reduce this with two pictures and insert a frame piece where it is missing, I get the following result.
If this is reduced to one image and the missing frame bit is added, first on the left, it gives the following result. These images are half the size of the above but are kept in the same format for the sake of impression
If you mirror this image and in the same way add the missing frame bit, first to the left, it gives the following result. None of the eight are alike.
Including the first large image consisting of six small ones, it is possible to see 14 different expressions bases on the same image.
DECORATION AND ART – “You do not have to understand decoration to like it, but when it comes to Art it is different. Who decides what is Art?” – G.M. Nov. 2019
MY FIRST ATTEMPT ON CANVAS
This third attempt, the first on canvas, gets a slightly more serious feel, as I have gone for the acquisition of more professional canvases. So far, I have only found one store that has them and they are only available in the format I use in this experiment.
I live as you probably understand a little off the beaten track in the south of Spain, so here you must make do with what exists.
Unfortunately, it turned out that even these, more professional canvases, were not quite the same at all and not always at an angle, but this little disappointment is for the time being just to forget.
It is said that you must forge while the iron is hot, so already on 5 Nov. In 2019, the rough sketch was ready for the next picture.
The next phase was to let the sketch materialize on the six canvases, as a basis for painting. The six were first, as you can see on the right, equipped with the now well-known frame in black and green. Then it was time to tackle the ruler, fit and a lot of patience. (Geometric motive).
Each picture is painted separately. Naturally, if you had the space to move, you could paint this on a canvas and then make copies of the different sections as you wished. Especially with the inaccuracy of the small canvases, it would certainly be the best.
Neither space nor time makes this possible for me currently. The process goes faster with the assembly line principle, i.e. one colour at a time. That way, at least I get a slightly better impression of the colour choice you end up with and an alternative that could be suitable for a different colouring of the same motive.
There is something about the back that does not feel so good when you sit on a stool that is barely 24 centimetres high and paint on a picture that is in front of you on a table that is 42. But as it is called in Spanish, «es lo que hay », or, that’s what you have. With acrylic paints, at least it is not the drying time that limits the progress.
Now I myself am excited about what the finished result will look like.
This is how the finished image looked with the selected colours. My immediate opinion is that it should be revived a bit here. I imagine the four smaller circles in a strong light colour, maybe yellow, or and, in the same green as in the frame. In the meantime, I get to chew a little on the case.
The weekend will show how it will look.
Here is an experiment with a new colour, the yellow, in the full version with six images and the smaller one with four.
As another alternative, I have stuck to one of the original colours, green, and inserted it in the same way as with the yellow.
Below are a few variants where brown is replaced with green.
Since these canvases have a different format than those in experiments one and two, I must find a material that is suitable for making the frame pieces that will be missing, to show some examples of framed single images from this experiment.
What would I do if I did not have the Chinese? In another of the many bazaars in the area, I found cardboard in a suitable format, which when I glued two together got the same thickness as the canvas.
Then it was time to set goals, cut and paint, and suddenly, the two types of frame pieces that were missing to make the individual pictures complete, emerged.
Below are just a few examples, which of course can all be hung up in four ways. I cannot calculate how many different this will be in the end, but only that 6×4 = 24 says something, and with a little variation on the colours, the number is multiplied. So, you understand, both the photography and the accuracy are not given priority in this presentation. This is all about the principles being tested. The details will come later, if it should be interesting to continue at all.
In the meantime, however, I have come to a slightly different twist, which has everything to do with the fixed frame, which it became natural to use based on the dream image. I’ll come back to that.
MY SECOND ATTEMT ON CANVAS (FANTASY)
IMAGINATION – “In the world of fantasy, anything is possible. The starting point can look simply but offers endless possibilities to let your imagination flourish.” G.M. Dec. 2019
Based on the fact that I have not yet found any canvas that holds exactly the same size, I will now try a canvas that is approximately 60x60cm, corresponding to six canvases that each measure approximately 20x30cm and which when put together are 60x60cm. (I choose this instead of nine small canvases of 20x20cm which would also be 60x60cm. Single images in format 20×30 are in my opinion more appealing). On this I want to create a fantasy image, which when copied on six canvases measuring 20x30cm, will form independent decorations. I can thus imagine the large picture placed in a suitable place, and a desired number of variants of the six passed together or separately in other suitable places. The picture family can thus be gathered or spread as desired.
As you understand, this solution does not mean that the pictures should have a frame. Already at this point, I feel that the complex with the frame/s don’t stand in relation to the work.
First, I focused on a template that could make it relatively easy to build an image, at least if you are not afraid to unleash curiosity and imagination.
The simplest is usually the best, so an A4 route sheet was the solution. There, a square of 18×18 centimetres was lined up, which in turn was lined up in six equally large pictures. With the grid sheet in place and copied in a desired number, it was just a matter of getting started. The first attempt can be seen in the picture below on the left. It was done on the grid sheet, not on the copies I will use later. (By using the copies and draw on them, you only use the eraser when things need to be redone, the squares and alignments remain). In the right picture, the same sketch is painted on the same sheet, with a slight twist as the paint progressed.
After several different attempts around the same starting point, the result emerged as you can see in the next two pictures.
As mentioned, this time I first wanted to make the whole picture on a canvas that measured 60x60cm.
I had already given some thought to changes at the starting point, i.e. the last two pictures above, and started with my newly acquired canvas. Of course, it also turned out to be inaccurate in the goals, so here it was just a matter of taking on the challenges when you encounter them. The same turned out to be the case with the small canvases.
The result of the thoughts was transferred with pencil on the canvas, which required great concentration and accuracy, while adjustments were made along the way.
In the picture below, I have just started the paint and without comments, there will be further pictures of several stages in the paint.
Although on the sketches I have tried to set the colours the way I want them, it is necessary for me to see the progress and experiment a bit with the colour scheme, especially if the shape has changed along the way, as has happened in this experiment.
At this point, the FANTASY image is about half painted and I can see that some planned colour schemes will be changed in the sprint!
In the two pictures below, only the colour scheme of the white fields remains. Not an immediately easy choice, but if you look through the “eyes”, the two green and white squares (left picture), the four white fields appear as being one and the same surface that lies at a distance, deeper, from the blue and black “glasses”. My conclusion is therefore that the four white fields must be the same colour. Here I must also consider that, based on this picture, there will be six single decorations. I’ll have to chew on that until tomorrow.
After testing some variations of colours, I have concluded that I want to paint them white, in other words as the pictures above show, where the white fields are the canvas colour. The next two pictures are thus my finished fantasy picture in this fourth attempt. Although they look the same in the pictures, the ones below are now painted white, and some finishing touches have been done.
With the same motive, it is of course possible to experiment with completely different colour schemes, but it is mostly just repetitions, so I set that option aside for the time being.
Well pleased with the result, I must admit that my wife Marianne immediately went for the white solution after I presented her with the other options, it became natural to look at how the six small pictures would look.
A grey carton was cut out as a frame and painted white, so that each image in its dimension 20x30cm could now be photographed.
The result was as follows when all six are presented as they are photographed from the top left of the picture.
The pictures below are some photographed variants of extracts of 20x30cm, from the same original which is 60x60cm.
The first four are horizontal from the original.
Here you can frolic endlessly. Below are six randomly selected.
Before I go any further, I want to paint a couple of random compositions from the big picture, on canvases that are 20x30cm, to see how they look.
To complete the fourth attempt, I feel it is necessary, not only to have photographed the six small pictures that make up the big picture, but to paint all of them on small canvases.
Below is the result when they are put together and form the original image.
DECORATION OR VALUE – “When it comes to visual art, not as an economic investment but as a decoration, the profit lies in the daily joy of experiencing the image. Forget the prestige, it is not negative to please oneself.” G.M. Jan. 2020
Below, the six originals are photographed at random, all four alike, and presented in four different positions.
Since each image can hang in four positions and there are six of them, you have a total of 24 different options.
The three images shown below x 2 are all it takes to form the large images of 60x60cm.
If the two middle pictures are removed and I put the remaining four together, they look like this:
I myself am very pleased with the fourth attempt, which also in my opinion has shown that frames are not necessary at all, and especially on pictures of the type I have dealt with so far.
If you have a different opinion, these can of course also be framed.
MY THIRD ATTEMPT ON CANVAS
THE HEART – “What is the reason we have only one Heart, when several of our organs are doubled? Imagine that the most important organ we have, keeping us alive, is completely alone, without any kind of ‘backup’. In my opinion, the answer is clear: There is a limit.” G.M. 2016
The pattern and procedure I now feel is in place for this kind of work. In this experiment I started as in the previous one with the copied template and then did several experiments in colour. Without going too deep into it, I reproduce a photo of the template as it looked when I began the transfer to the large canvas of 60×60, and the draft colour scheme as it was before I started on the large. The next three are sections of pictures 3 – 2 and 5.
Knowing that neither the colour scheme nor the final design would be as shown above, the transfer of the sketch to the canvas started, and as you can see from the pictures below, there are already significant changes from the original sketch. The reason is that as the work progressed, the changes came naturally.
The first image is some swatches. The next four are from the progress and the sixth with the white corners I thought at first was the finished picture.
After wondering how the small excerpts would look, the picture immediately got a tightener. The corners went from being white to blue, (picture six below), to blue (picture 7-10 below).
THE HEART – “The honest deep red hearts are discreet but do everything they can to reach the good core. The fleeting orange hearts fight in the subconscious opposite but are slowed down by their underlying white neutrality. In our world, fortunately, the honest hearts are in the majority.” G.M. Dec. 2019
Below, some examples of how the excerpts will be with the finished image as a starting point.
Now it was time to paint an excerpt freehand. The transfer to the small canvas I made from the white frame on the big picture, 60x60cm, the picture below, and started the painting.
In the next small pictures, four stages are reproduced, the last of which is the first of two coats of the finished picture.
Then follows the finished image of the extract in size 20x30cm.
MY FOURTH ATTEMPT ON CANVAS
DEPTH EFFECT WITH AFFILIATION
After my previous tree attempts on canvas, I wanted to try my hand at depth effect. Only when the final image was finished in 60×60 centimetres did it strike me that what I with good will see as depth in the image in a way has an affiliation. The big star is located far below the four towers, but still has an affiliation through physical contact. Well, you should be able to have a meaning, shouldn’t you?
In any case, it was an exciting attempt, where the last colour choice was between keeping the white in the four towers, or, as you can see from picture two after the sketch, I should choose the yellow to dampen the first impression a bit. After a bit of back and forth and consultation with my wife, it turned out that the yellow one was chosen. The finished picture therefore has a tower with deep red and yellow sides.
This was the last picture of the year and got the last brushstroke on New Year’s Eve 2019 before the sun went down.
Below you see the six small pictures that have been photographed from the original at 60x60cm. Each of the small pictures has a dimension of 30x20cm.
Below are three random excerpts, photographed from the original image.
The excerpt shown below, in white frame, is painted on the first and second New Year’s Day in 2020, on canvas, and appears in the right size for the big picture
Here, the painted excerpt is shown somewhat enlarged.
MY FIFTH ATTEMPT ON CANVAS
EIGHT COLOUR COMBINATIONS
Just days after the Spaniards had finished the THREE KINGS celebrations on the sixth of January in 2020, I tried again. The sketch that I chose as a starting point was intended more as a test of colour combinations than as a decoration. This is not to say that the decorative effect, according to someone’s taste, can still shine through.
It started as usual with a sketch of the photocopied template. This was then copied and after several attempts with colouring on new copies, I started with the canvas of 60x60cm.
As you can see, the paper on the coloured sketch is rather curly, which is because in my eagerness to move on quickly, I overturned the glass of water I use to wash the brushes in. Fortunately, the water was untouched, but it hit the photocopied colour sample.
I was fully aware that here it would be to experiment if the colour scheme should be transferred to the canvas.
I had already understood that the regular compass I have was not big enough to handle the challenge, but I thought that such a compass had to be on the market. The big surprise was when even the Chinese Bazars could not offer anything other than the usual ones. Well, a quick visit to fereteria Lopez, which otherwise has everything, of course had nothing but school-compasses, but more than enough materials for a quick access construction.
No more than half an hour after this was brought to the house, it could be tried on the big canvas and as you can see in the picture to the right, it worked perfectly.
It did not take long before I changed both the colour scheme and the sketch itself.
The finished image has finally got a quite different colour scheme than originally thought, something I see as quite natural.
If I remove the two middle pictures, a new one is formed as shown below and if the two middle pictures are put together, the result is as shown then.
This fifth attempt on canvas clearly confirms to me some experiences I had earlier in my life in connection with product development. My reflection from 2006 in the book REFLECTIONS III, deals with, among other things, here abbreviated from two pages to three lines:
DEVELOPMENT IV – “If you slavishly follow the original goal when it comes to developing a product, the result will never be as good as if you allow improvisation along the way.” G.M. 1962