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Written musings on making art and the results. Life in the slow lane.

Images for sale, both unique artworks and limited editions. 

 

Colour Conundrums

Colour Conundrums

Changing light changes perceived colour and then it is exaggerated in post image processing. Here sea-fret filtered sunlight altered how colour was ‘seen’ both by may eyes but also by teh algorithms in teh camera itself – never forget what you get is filtered electronically according to the aesthetics of the technicians employed by the camera  manufacturer. Nothing new here as those who remember the different colour caste that cam with using Fuji or Kodak films/slides

Chocolate Teapot

Chocolate Teapot

The canvases of the Cuckmere metal now sit with early studies of the Splash Point metal, and alongside Bergen Harbour, something of a breakthrough piece spurred on by knowledgeable criticism – not the moronic ‘forlorn frustrated sexuality’ critique I had from the Guardian many years ago but a knowledgeable questioning from my peers who also studied at Bath Academy Corsham, my old ‘alma mater’. Their educated and sophisticated appreciation of each other’s work has borne fruit in my case with a positive loosening and change of direction in what I have been doing.

The Old man of the Mountain

The Old man of the Mountain

. Everything is badly planned here. New housing is proposed but children’s schools are already at capacity and children will be sent over the Downs on roads that often block and isolate the town. There is not enough surgery capacity to cope and the surgeries are themselves are in buildings that need revision – so bad that one practice has publicly threatened to move out of town.

The BRotS paintings on paper

  Click here to see a GIF of BRotS Images that are available from the gallery. All are on A1 sized 300gsm paper primed with 3 coats of gesso ground. Acrylic paint, some with oil pastel additions, mostly glazed with a matt glaze. Images are all sized at 27 inches...

Such is Life

Such is Life

I only have one soul, but maybe 9 lives. As a child of two I was rushed to the RAF casualty station in Aden when another child split my lip open throwing a clockwork train at me. At six years old RAF surgeons operated to clear a twisted bowel maybe (who knows)...

Making a Painting – stretching and priming the canvas

Making a Painting – stretching and priming the canvas

Stretching and priming is the basic beginning of every canvas. You can buy canvases from professional makers, but I prefer to choose the type of canvas I use and stretch it myself, to a size I want to work on. This continues my showing the process that I, as an...

Ritual Process

Ritual Process

The rusting is a metaphor for personal and national life, my efforts to reflect it and present its beauty reflects my own view of our country and its history. Doesn’t all art do this? If that is so, how do you judge much of what is presented as art, in all art forms, today?

Making Waves

Making Waves

Right at the beginning of this series BRotS#1 had a vestigial wave pattern at its base, partly, I will admit, simply to hide the fact the drawing wasn’t quite square. See how intellectual the process can be? Ha! Throughout the remaining explorations and paintings, the...

A Search for Beauty

A Search for Beauty

Realistic or representational paintings can open a door for a viewer, and maybe why, as I have said before, that I try to walk a line between abstraction and representation. The works on paper are closer to realism that you might think, often appearing surprisingly close to the photographic image worked from, making them accessible in theory to anyone visually aware. When I go onto canvas, I try to distil the lessons learned in working on paper into something that stands alone, needing no external reference, its abstraction from reality perhaps a feeling of familiarity. For on canvas I am seeking to find beauty, to extract more beauty from what I see.

The Weather Side

The Weather Side

Starting with observation, drawings result. Additional information added by keeping large print (A3+ or A2} colour photographs for colour references on the studio wall, occasionally incorporating photographic prints into the work means that much of the apparent abstractions are just more apparent than they are. Sometimes the photos are collaged to create images that can be around five feet high. In other smaller works I have used collage in addition to colour to show the effects of time. Time also matters and that becomes a concern in the work too, sometimes surfacing in images such as the garden image made from merging a photo from each season to present a picture of a year.

After the Hive?

After the Hive?

Is there still a place for the ancient craft of painting? Looking at a painting should change the way we perceive our world. Fine art produces objects of contemplation, interpretations of beauty that change the way we as individuals see our world. Unlike VR or movies, a painting is not an escape from reality, but a mirror held up to it to change the way we see or understand it, a mirror that reflects the view the artist sees but unlike the digital realities, does not pretend to be anything but itself. Paintings enable the viewer to have a dialogue and question themselves on their own view of their world.

Splodging

Splodging

Here you can see details of the latest paintings featured in previous blogs, showing the technique. I use brushes too, frequently underpainting with brush before working over with the scrapers and then working over again with oil pastel.  Love what I am doing ( to paint is to love again) and love the colour interrelationship that are created by the layering. I admire other painters who are into paint, like Tom Phillips, and those who extend how we look and use our eyes. I hope I make people look afresh at the world around them, use their eyes more to see the beauty we live with daily in often unexpected places. I hope you enjoy.

Cuckmere Coastguard Cottages

Cuckmere Coastguard Cottages

Some of what I know is hearsay, some from simple observation, some from public reports. It seems that the Agency, given the job of protecting Britain’s coastline, was making choices about where to spend its limited funds (apart from on offices and administration of course). A while ago it announced it would no longer take any action on the Cuckmere but would allow the area between the sea and inland villages like Alfriston to become tidal marsh land. It explicitly would not pay anything for the defence of the Coastguard Cottages despite their worldwide fame as an icon of the English coast adjacent to the Seven Sisters.

Cuckmere #BRotS

Cuckmere #BRotS

Including pieces of net and the shingle rocks that had holed and forced apart the metal plates drew me down a path to painting realistically where before, in just exploring the colour I had been able to delight in exploring paint and colour, textures, transparency and painterly concerns. Working from a photograph I took of the metal defences and the cottages beyond I tried to maintain the exploration of colour texture etc, and to contrast them against the white of the cottages, all on a large canvas.

Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue

Whilst I am no longer working in the small tight confines of taped off areas characterised by the ‘Seaford Fuchsia’, I am still taping out areas to work on. The thick paint raised issues with getting a good edge as the corrugations I create in application allow ‘bleeds’ of adjacent colour. To a certain extent I allow this as it reflects the rough rusty edges on my subject, but the issue is compounded by the slow drying, where the thick paint can be dry to the touch by have enough damp in it to reject the tape. This seems more of an issue on canvas than it is on paper, despite both having the same application of gesso ground.

Splash Point

Splash Point

I tread a line between abstraction and realism in exploring the colour. Someone described one of the resulting canvases as ‘impressionistic’, and maybe that is a fair comment, but my overriding concern is not to present reality but to show how the colours intersect and the visual richness that this ageing structure presents for our delectation and delight.

Trust in Rust

Trust in Rust

BRotS – the Bridget Riley of the Shingle, an homage and an inspiration is rusting metal battered by wind and weather , but especially eroded by tons of sea water from Channel waves carrying their shingle like slingshots. Rust and erosion a constant explosion of colour

Boldly Go

Boldly Go

The squares in the drawings hint at structure, organisation.  The colour is non-organic, contradictory, breaking down the square structure. An Homage to Albers. Reflect the outside world intruding. The square enables me to play games with visibility/colour relationships, tonality whilst maintaining a comparability between pieces. The square has/represents powers beyond the image, stability (security?). The contradiction between the gestural mark and the rigidity of structures has life parallels.

Moving Forward

Moving Forward

Although this was the concern in the ritual of painting in the freedom of the mythmaking on paper things were going in quite a different direction. The obsession in the works on paper with the mark expressing speed and the natural swing of the arm was being modulated, and the look at pattern had also made me consider the manner in which I was applying colour. In the works on paper it was directly using oil pastels and oil bars that were more like pencils than brushes. Now I began to play with lifting colour off with solvent wipes, scraping through colour and changing the way the gesture put the mark down.

Timidity

Timidity

Colour and the gesture, two basics for every painter. I use both to try to destabilise the square visually. Colour describes spatial and emotional values and can be used to produce a surface that ‘moves’ visually, whilst colour advances and recedes so can be seen breaking through other colours, helped by tonality (follow the above link for experimental verification of this). The gesture reinforces this by creating the illusion of layers, the speed and direction of the mark pulling the eye one way on the surface whilst the colour pulls it another. Tonality also shifts the surface against other surfaces and the eye will read surface not as object but as spatial position.

Art Subsidies – the Dead Hand of Conformity

Art Subsidies – the Dead Hand of Conformity

The Prado Museum, one of the world’s biggest art galleries, cannot find 885 of its own works, according to Spain’s Audit Court. Some years ago, I was a part of a group of artists organising group shows in galleries throughout the English North West, as well as my solo...

Progress?

Progress?

Many of the properties we serviced were those of the wealthy who always seek to stand alone, but many were small farms, still, in 1974, using shit pails in outside loos. Some of these were even two seaters, something I had only seen before in museums. Our job was to pull the bucket out, each of the ‘brick outhouses’ having a small door in the side for this purpose. We then had to find a spot, usually marked by nettles etc. from earlier visits, where we could strain off the liquids. Solids went into a black bin bag which joined the rest of the rubbish in the back of the dustcart. Putting the bag into the dustcart was in itself an art form. Time it wrongly and the bag would explode throwing ordure over the operative – in which case we would insist on them riding the rest of that day on the tailboard.

Reflections…

Reflections…

Many of the ‘pictures’ don’t contain an image. In times gone by they would have been referred to as ‘field paintings’. The fact that most are made digitally doesn’t alter their power as visual surfaces, and the example I have had printed on aluminium at 2 feet square shows how clearly they work as stand-alone artworks.

Beholden Eye

Beholden Eye

Beauty is an individual concept formed in part by social agreement, – you buy into what the media present, and what is current fashion. Maybe you will be baffled by my enjoyment of this piece of rusting beach architecture and agree with my partner who says in slight bafflement, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. Why not visit and judge for yourself when lockdown ends, just take a moment to contemplate, remembering that all art profits from spending time in contemplation…

Watercolour

Watercolour

I walk with a camera and collect images along coasts wherever I am. Occasionally they are of the quality of holiday snapshots which are collected after each trip and made into a memory book for continuing pleasure, sometimes they make stories, but often they are collected for their own sake. I look for the things that have fascinated me in making paintings – colour balance and contrasts, symmetry and asymmetry.

Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’

Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’

I don’t do cruises. That was the theory anyway. The idea that I would voluntarily confine myself with hundreds of people with no escape filled me with horror. Going on holiday with a whole village? Many years ago, as Editor of HotelDesigns, I organised some reviews of...

Art and Craft

Art and Craft

My local church is St. Leonards. It is in the centre of the town and for many forms the central focus of small-town life, a focus enhanced by its proximity to the railway station and both our doctor’s surgeries. It has a thriving congregation especially at Christmas...

Hockney, Davie and Helen Kapp at the Towner

Hockney, Davie and Helen Kapp at the Towner

The show represents their early years, years that appear to be more brilliant for Davie than they were for a Hockney still seeking to come to a balance between the prevailing modes of abstraction and the new burgeoning of realism. Whilst Davie wholeheartedly embraced the working methods of abstract expressionists such as Jackson Pollock, Hockney was already starting a journey to becoming on of the greatest of contemporary realist painters in a tradition that stretches along a road parallel to abstraction.