Thursday, September 29, 2011

3D drawing

About ten years ago I made a small figure in copper from a series of drawings. After paper and wire mock ups I cut sheet copper and copper rod, used silver solder to assemble the 20cm maquette shown below. They were really made to use as models to draw from in the same manner as Daumier used figurines for composition arrangements.
There been suggections that to fabricate her x4 would be interesting.
Well, here she is, life size. I am finding it strangely haunting, like a living drawing. A drawing that changes as I walk past. The size and depth is disconcerting for my mind that no longer has to construct depth. I am coming to terms with this phenomena rather slower than I expected.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Elysian fields

I find it difficult to account for my paintings, it is like saying something I didn't expect.
As this one materialized I saw Antoine Watteau in it, maybe not surprising as I often browse reproductions his work. When in Dulwich Picture Gallery recently I was arrested by one of his paintings there, such a lovely experience to see the work that is so underrated today.
I worked for some time on this piece, untroubled by the 'pop up' nature of the individual main figures, indeed, it amused me as they reclined on the red ground in the heavenly spirit that the French call 'Champs-Élysées' 

Monday, September 26, 2011


The big story

Here is a new picture, I widen out a bit to image overarching structures.
Having respect for empirical thinking - the idea of God is embraced along with related incoming concepts.
The scale and perspectives change, it's a big view.
Just glad I am not alone.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Red Bull

Energy shot

I wonder, what it is our pictures do for us?  Are they friends that comfort us, or as one client told me, his pictures made him 'feel alive'.
What power does a drawn line or applied colour have on us as we see it daily.
Some time ago, following Motherwell's lead, I did a series of ink pieces on coated paper and put them in a drawer. On the odd occasions that I looked at them this one always worked on me, it energized me.
Now it is framed and available for anyone who who needs an energy shot now and again.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The smell of the earth

The land forms near Buxton

When ploughing or working in a newly dug trench the earth smells beautiful, as pungent and new mown grass but different. The folds of the earth always speak to me as do the workings on the surface by generations of people past. This painting is of the land near Buxton in Derbyshire and features a remarkable diamond shaped field on the side of a rising bank. Seeing this in conjunction with the diminishing road as it descends into the valley demanded my attention. Simplicity and earth colours compound the effect as I try to evoke a sense of place here, a place unmolested and settled with gradients and boundaries unchanged for centuries.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Chloe comes home

Friday I had the call!

Peter at 'Just Metal' tells me the steel figure is ready for collection. I found him and his neighbour sitting in plastic chairs drinking mugs of tea with the new sculpture between them and complaining that she didn't say much.
They asked what her name was, and at that time she was 'seated woman' - on the way home 'Chloe' came to me and has remained unless a better one occurs.
Although only x4 it has been surprising to be introduced to her suddenly all finished life size. Peter had been busy creating her from the patterns I had given him over many hours and was I think a little reluctant to part with her when finished.
Now set up in the studio I will attend to the surface finish. I become familiar with it - The steel as a material has to be embraced and maintained, its painted surface will celebrate its nature as it speaks with a soft voice.
A site has been selected so I must lay a concrete foundation this morning if it is to be in place by the 8th October show.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Twombly gets our vote

Twombly and Poussin at the Dulwich Picture Gallery
Ruth and I travelled up to Dulwich (thats Southern Rail to East Croydon and a red 197 via Penge) then we walked in the September sun through Dulwich park into the Dulwich Picture Gallery. We found the show absolutely fantastic, wonderful. Not too big, not too busy, Look, Lunch (fish pie) and back to look again - very civilized indeed. The information was very helpful - differences and similarities abounded - loved it x. Both artists in different ages moved to Rome at the age of 30, both Arcadian painters steeped in the poets. A sensitivity that is stroked and smeared, drawn and dribbled, written and removed on paintings and palimpsests of sheer pleasure.
Go and see it while you can at Dulwich Picture Gallery -

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

making visible

A fleeting glimpse of the spirit

My Psalm Project has been rather neglected. This painting is one of the few that been kept, it is one of three painted on thick card with gouache. Reading Psalms generate on the one hand a sense of some very robust thinking and speaking that is balanced out with extreme vulnerability. Trying to identify with this and to externalize the felt sensation is the brief I gave myself in the painting reproduced.
Within the small painting is immense strength and power, yet flickering in the colours and the mode of application is a sensitivity verging on the romantic. This is, I guess, why it has been kept. This is the invisible made visible, a fleeting glimpse of the spirit.
These pieces occurr in an unconscious moment and cannot be summoned on demand, I am looking to recognize more of such moments and make them visible. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

enclosed garden again

Enclosed Garden 2
I completed the figures (see previous) by adding colours to the spaces, the later colours became much more difficult, like finishing a game of Solitaire, but in the end quite pleasing. It was my intention to work further into the painting but on reflection, left it in this simple state - finished. The gray-scale version above shows up the colour choices, this is a good test on picture colour, it checks it from a different point of view.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pastel Pigment

Pastel pigment hits the button

Given an afternoon - I will draw figures. For a while I ponder my options given that I am working on black photographic foam core. In the end I settle on pastel and array the colours that excite without fail.
I tape down 6 pieces of board and work them in series.
Although I repeat the figures they are always different, I commence using thin grey crayon to make approximate figure forms then with thicker colour I expand on the ideas. Stopping is all important.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hans Cranach

Hercules at the Court of Omphale : inspired by Cranach

This painting is now complete, it has rested at the side of the studio for some time so that I can become accustomed to it while it dries. I resist any temptation to tidy it up, now with its little shelf in place and the objects painted it needs no more attention. Using old paintings and painters is very instructive, These early painters come across in a 'modern' way when reworked, by catching what for me is the essense of Cranach through re-drawing the power of his concept is retained.
I must be a bit pleased because I have chosen it as a leading picture for the forthcoming studio exhibition on the 8th October. It is a relief to complete a work of art, they are often resistent to closure, so reaching some sense of equalibrium along with a satisfying level of tension in the work, it allows me to move on to other pieces that need my attention.

Monday, September 5, 2011

enclosed garden

new painting inspired by an earlier etching

Last Friday evening while looking for paper I came across the etching plate that printed the piece below, 'five virgins' from around 2005. This reminder overlapped the current drawing exercise I was engaged in and gave rise to the beginning I have reproduced above. Friday evening I coloured a ground with a sort of Veronese green for we to work on the next morning, and on Saturday I managed to bring it as far as you see it now.
The figures, the enclosure and arrangements are a remix of past discoveries, here re-invented in new colours and new combinations that prove to be of interest to me. The work was left for this morning as the problem of colouring the remaining figures successfully was difficult. I needed to clean the palette and make a fresh start on a fresh day to 'see' it more objectively. I enjoy the flat chosen colours and will seek to complete the puzzle in the same way, that old saying comes to mind - 'any fool can start a painting, finishing is a different matter'.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Kinetic babe

For me, setting out to paint well is not the way forward, better to lay down an honest mark in a colour that reflects the objective, this may be good in the end.

Painting never gets any easier, because creative statements answer me back all the time, but this dialogue helps develop a necessary tension in the picture.