Order by Lou Hamilton


Breaking up with white canvas is always a daunting prospect when you start a piece of work.

The pure space challenges you to leave it alone. There is something about its blank square that already feels complete and somewhat of an act of disturbance to mess it up. Because of this I have to trick myself into the first step. I go with the sense of disruption by doing something messy and ‘wrong’. It breaks the purity and allows me to begin, without worrying about creating something as perfect as the white square.

With this piece I began with scraping plaster with my fingers across the surface in a circular pattern, and by doing so, immediately extruding the surface from flat, outwards into a sculptural plane.

I scratch further into the channels made by my fingers with a stick or the side of the palette knife.

In my mind’s eye I am imagining my character Brave New Girl doing her daily meditation walk, round and round in circles before trailing off towards the edge of the canvas, off on her next adventure. Still the plaster is white against the white gesso of the primer; it is calming but still too flat; not enough of a narrative, nothing deeper to read into.

And so I feel ready to start painting.

Acrylic at first; in random brushstrokes and vibrant colours. I create chaos. It’s freeing to paint with wild abandon, with no notion as to any particular outcome. The plaster circle forces certain marks but otherwise there are no constrictions. I am liberated at this stage to make as many ‘mistakes’ as I please, the more the better. If I like a painting too soon it’s usually disaster; it means I finish too early and the painting is flat and soulless. It’s best when I hate the results of this layer, the plasticity, the colours, the chaos; but because acrylic dries quickly, I can move on to the next layer before I become too disheartened.

Now it’s time to work with oils. There is something deeply satisfying about working in oil. It’s texture, it’s viscosity; the way it slides into place. I prefer to work with sponges and rags, rather than a brush with oils. Partly because I haven’t the patience to clean my brushes properly but mainly because I like the direct contact that rags give my fingers to the paint and canvas. Even though I wear rubber gloves, it feels better to work closer to the paint rather than from the end of a stick. However, at first, I mix the paint with a cold wax medium to thicken it and use a palette knife to drag it across the surface, leaving pockets and pitted glimpses of the colored layer below.

In this piece I am using shades of off-white. I want to return the piece to calm from the chaos of the colours. I want to create order and a sense of peace.

Like my daily meditation ‘enso’ ink drawings, which are calligraphied circles on white paper, I decide that the circle on this painting will be a deep indigo, nearly black against the whites. The final result is a simple dark circle on white; the focus in one’s mind’s eye on the balancing of life between chaos and order.

Additional information

Additional information


Original art




Oil, plaster, acrylic


50cm x 50cm

Ready to hang




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Depending upon your purchase, we are often able to negotiate the shipping to be included in the cost of the artwork.