Saturday, 7 March 2015

Back To The Blog With The Backlog

Yes, I am the worst blogger on the planet, possibly the universe.  I just didn't think there was anything worth writing about in the period leading up to Christmas yet my diary tells me I was very busy.  I must have been quite active because at one point I was working on 41 paintings at once!  I think that most of them were experiments with acrylic transfer techniques and have now been consigned to the recycle bin but some were more successful.

I had the usual fun time at the ROI Art Event evening in December but had a difficult pitch because I was painting Adebanji looking straight at me.

Adebanji At The Mall Galleries

The brushwork is terrible but I caught something of his sterner side I think.

I then had a really lean period doing my accounts and those of our local sewage plant!  At the end of January Tim Benson sent me an invitation to a Winsor and Newton study day at the V&A with Paul, their outreach officer, showing us what pigments and supports were available to Constable and giving us the chance to use some of them like Lead White and Rose Madder Genuine.  We also had a go at reproducing our own Constable using those early C19th paints before looking at the last day of the Constable show:

Sketch After Constable 10x12
I have also been planning two large paintings for the AFAS contemporary show this summer:  Hunters In The Snow (afer Pieter Brueghel Elder) and Rendezvous Manqué.  Both are based on WW1.  The trial piece for Hunters is crude but I think the full size painting will work:
Sketch for Hunters In The Snow
Rendezvous Manqué was going to be based on the Battle of Loos as it is the centenary this year but I wanted particular gas masks to be worn by the British and German soldiers and I feel sure that these types only came in later in the war:
Concept Sketch 2 for RV Manqué
The two figures are separated in later sketches (the German is put further back as well) and I hope somehow in the full sized version to give the viewer the sense of men floundering around in a gas attack.  These creations based on ideas rather than observation involve endless experimentation and it may be another month before I settle on a final design.

I have also managed two or three days out, painting on Otmoor below our village:

The New Hide, Otmoor 9x11
Reed Beds, Otmoor 7x9
I have also been doing a series of still life paintings in the early morning but using a crude 'light box'.  Here are some of them.  The Narcissi gradually died on me but as they drooped the shapes were possibly more interesting than when they were upright.

Narcissi in The Delft Vase 1
Narcissi in The Delft Vase 2
Narcissi in The Delft Vase 3
Cobalt Vase and Pinks
Galanthus 'Merlin' and Waterloo Lion
Last Thursday I went to the Pastel Society (PS) evening and chose to paint the guitarist David Buckingham.  Difficult as he was playing or talking all the time and I have not worked in pastels for a while.  I started the Kimono lady, thinking I had an hour but we were stopped after 15 minutes!  The PS are not as organised as the ROI but it's early days and I am sure they will get there.

Vuillard was right - the most important item in the studio is the chair.  Full concentration on one's work from across the room really does find the faults.

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