Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lilly at lunch

Interval - see the point of review with this piece.

More work had been done on the figures, 
solid improvement that pleased me.
Overall it was unsatisfactory,

White with an emerald blush is applied over the red backdrop colour,
(you can see the still wet red has been picked up in the vigorous revision)

Where as this position is better (without the red)
It's not quite where I want to be
but I think it more likely I can get where I want to be from here  (without the red)

So that's good.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Italian Cafe

Gentle progress with The Cafe.

To describe or destroy is the mental oscillation.
I err on the tenency to describe.
Juicy RT Oil sticks come to the rescue
Pinks, blues and creamy greys destroy.

The central figure defies me
Made and unmade he retreats
I leave him for now
unresolved & undefined,

The whole is a meld of colour
in conversation with itself.
Colour is form and
shadow is denied in the structure of space.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Train 2

I return to the 'Train' canvas to work into the Red Ochre litho ink I had smudged over the white canvas.
Keeping method in line with the idea was important else it would quickly sink into the normal. I have what is known a scenic painters Fitch, (it says so on the handle) this has long hogs hair bristles that felt right for the job in hand. With some chosen colours applied in a squish, a dab and a flourish, I stood back to judge the progress.
A mixing of soft grey was made and applied to the background.
Done for now - next time I see wetter paint will be needed, despite or because of the risk that comes with it.

Friday, June 22, 2012


The last blog mention Da Vinci, today its Picasso. As I recall Pablo, his advice was ' You can do whatever you like, just don't do it twice', so today there are no da Vinci smudges! Instead I have turned to ancient Persia, work I have a special fondness for.
Below is a drawing of the derelict chapel at Hotel Casa Volpi near Arezzo. Attracted by the classical form and the trees I made the drawing during a recent stay.
It catches my attention, how to interpret the drawing is always the question, I will try a Persian angle.Taking a ruler I divide the canvas to indicate the building and find a 'Terisiæ' on another page in the Italian sketchbook.
Above is the base colour for a new oil 80cm square. I am not a Catholic as such and have no special respect for St Terisiæ, to whom the chapel was dedicated, but I rather wanted to include a 'Terisiæ' as she seemed present and had a mention on the building - so I put her in. To maintain the metaphysical slant I altered the trees to become guardian angels, such as have figured in many works of mine in the past.
When dry this will be interesting to develop, but not today.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


It is well documented that Leonardo da Vinci used smudges and random dots to launch new landscapes and paintings
I conclude that its never a bad thing to to follow in the footsteps of the masters, and I have found this game a help in the past.
I have in mind to paint another train, and they are prone to a predictability that needs to be broken, so smudges are the thing for today.
The canvas is 1.2M wide and I have no compositional drawings. I mix some red oxide litho ink to a thin (single cream) consistency and apply quickly and thoughtfully with a rag.
It is done, or at least this stage is done.
It has a fantastic theatrical drama about it - put to one side I will contemplate colour while doing other things.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sandys Caffe

When in Italy recently we noticed a cafe chain called Sandys Caffe, we went in quite a few. The local variants were always interesting and designed for the local population.
Sitting in a very small one in a fortified hill town I made a little drawing of the interior. Five people, Us sitting at the only table, two local workmen drinking at the bar and the proprietor serving and talking.
I saw the image as tight, confined with overlapping shapes, taken from what I knew rather than what I could see, as when a child draws all four wheels on a car at once.
This is the first pass, the drawing, slightly revised, was transcribed to the canvas and after some meditation - I rapidly applied these colours to describe the interior of 'Sandys Caffe'
Within the spirit of the this initial explosion, I will seek to tune my vision

Friday, June 15, 2012

Casa Volpi

The dining rooms at Casa Volpi

We recently stayed at a hotel in Arezzo called Casa Volpi. While there we ate in the hotel restaurant and I drew for myself and impression of those rooms and the view beyond of the hotel gardens and Arezzo. This image is the beginning of a colour realization of that drawing experience.
I often question myself on the integrity of my approach to work. I am not here seeking any high art style or invention, I merely want to experiment with the possibility of recreating the Casa Volpi moment. I want to max out the sensation of eating pigeon and red wine in the warm sunshine of a Tuscan evening to as many viewers as I can. With such skills and equipment that I have, I will marshal them to that end.
Whether you will smell the pigeon is another matter!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

the iconoclast

Car : from the Latin 'carrus' A wheeled vehicle
my vehicle is wheeled so it must be a car
the girl is blue and the car is pink but no matter
its the language of attitude that matters
you recognize your mother by the language of attitude
her body's attitude that is
attitude delivers narrative
narrative suggests possibility
this image suggests a possibility, after all it is just a start
with possibilities
how it proceeds is narrative, as yet unwritten narrative
predictability equals inertia
an attitude of mind preceeds an attitude of body
let's keep the body blue and make the story up.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cerulean sings

This format is part of me.
A distinctive formal arrangement that find myself repeating as a default composition.
The beige variations against the Cerulean tint please me.
The blue is laid over pink that added a good subtle interest to the seemingly flat sky - all as yet unfinished - all the more so as I lent up against it while reading a book, rearranging the pink/blue subtly in a rather less satisfying way!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The dancing car

The dancing car
It occurred to me that if trains have restaurant cars and sleeping cars why not dancing cars? Not that I am given to dancing myself, but the idea seemed visually amusing - and here it is. Sure the train is rather stripped down, but artists are allowed to do that sort of thing.
This is one of four square pieces that I am working on that are in a sort of family. Working in series, as you know, is in my blood.
This is the work after the second pass, and most decisions are made - a week or so away from it will show up any issues more clearly.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Covered white

This, is an under-painting.
One of ten new paintings I have started from drawings in my recent Italian sketchbook.
I find 'starts' exhilarating.
Continuing the painting is less so.
After drawing carefully on the canvas I work very rapidly with a large brush.
I cover the all the white, and then leave it abruptly.
It reminds me of an old colour photograph negative.
I like it as a beginning.
It's four foot wide and terrifies me more than the white.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Infectious joy

Infectious joy

The drawings in my Italian sketchbook are in the main, happy drawings. Our objective much of the time is happiness, even though life continually throws tragedy, sorrow and violence at us, yet art is about life. To draw unfettered happiness can unrealistic and just a bit soppy!
But I am unrepentant, after yesterdays celebrations I thought sharing this drawing would not go amiss, It is the beginning of a small painting from last week. It is very jolly and not a bit soppy, so I will proceed further with it.
But how? Will colour extend the sensation that silhouette has been so successful in generating, will the use of colour take us to 'pretty'. The English can do a whimsical thing that undermines a melancholic mood, therefore, my aim here is to make you smile with me, for joy is infectious.