I was perusing the Artsy website the other day and came across their synopsis of Raoul De Keyser. Amongst the usual spiel were the words, “…and the ability of simple gestures to communicate strong emotion.” ‘Wow,’ I thought, that reads so true for what I’m trying to do. I’ll steal that 😉
[Update] Scratch all that (below) – it was a (yet another) false start. Nice idea though and something that I will no doubt revisit many times over the next few years…
I’ve recently been exploring a new subject. At the bottom of my street there’s a fairly busy shipping port that features industrial cages, ships and generally a very structural spectacle. I’ve found myself in the studio bogged down with these details; for someone usually free and simple with his painting, the challenge of representing these structures is really interesting. One surprising upshot though is that I’ve found myself producing a side-line of paintings that revert to simplicity. ‘Negative Space’ works that are very simple one-shot-deal depictions of everyday objects. Images to follow if I manage to produce more than one successfully. 😉
One of the areas I’ve struggled with lately has been documenting my work with sufficient quality that they can be used for exhibition submissions or even just a decent photo for instagram. In order to address this I’ve taken the plunge and bought a decent camera (Olympus OM-D E-M10 for those interested in such things), tripod and lighting system. The camera itself is lovely, but there’ll be a bit of a learning curve while I figure out all the settings; something as basic as taking a picture wasn’t;t straight forward.
Already though, I can see the benefits of this setup. Below you’ll see two images – the top one was taken with natural light, the bottom image was taken using the studio lighting rig I recently acquired. You can see that the studio lighting gives a richer, sharper and more faithful rendering of the colours I see in the studio. The colours aren’t perfect, but I’m sure once I’ve gotten used the myriad settings on the camera these colours will be very representative of reality.
Colour + Movement; Colour-field+Line.
… This is the Holy Grail that I seek.
For the past few weeks I’ve been experiencing one of those dips in confidence and focus that most artists experience from time to time. It’s a fairly regular thing for me. I think the biggest problem I was facing was that I’ve been producing a lot of investigative sketches, which although meaningful and sometimes beautiful, the activity was not leading towards a sharpening of focus in the studio paintings. This past week however, I’ve been enjoying a week off the day-job, allowing me the time and head-space to consider my practice as a whole. Thankfully, all those months of investigatory sketches has not been in vain – I have managed to make sense of it all and now do have a clear(er) direction in the studio. Less ‘slap-dash’ or ‘casualist’ than previous work, but maintaining a freedom and painterliness.
It’s early days yet, but at least I feel positive.
Its a side-affect of having a ‘proper job’ that occasionally I’ll not have time nor inclination to paint. The inability to spend each day advancing the work can, quite often lead to a lack of focus. Unless a kind dealer with his/her head screwed on, who knows a good thing when it slaps them in the face and offers me a considerable advance on future sales…then this situation isn’t going to change anytime soon. During these bouts of inactivity the mind still develops work – you never stop thinking and reasoning and ‘remembering’ experiences that will influence the work once it restarts.
Here is one such result of these remembrances – I drive along the north sea coast daily and am often excited by the changing colours and textures; a magical and untamed spectacle. A couple of weeks back some extreme winds caused the sea to look…well, a lot less fierce than you might imagine: Deep Viridian green with myriad white ‘flecks’ of spume. The memory of that experience survived relatively intact until I was once again able to get into the studio.
I look at a lot of art. I mean A. LOT! Some of it good but most of the art I see in ‘real life’ or on the internet is so mediocre that I often experience fatigue and dissolusionment. Not for making (thankfully) but for looking. If what I’m looking at doesn’t feed my creative soul then perhaps it’s time to finally give up looking at other people’s art? In fairness, I don’t much like looking at my own art. 😉
The first ‘on canvas’ iteration of the monochrome schematic. The pentimenti creating depth and energy. Unlike the en-plein-air sketches, the studio canvases don’t, as yet have the date and time inscribed. This is something I hope to include in future but I don’t want it to look contrived. This painting was already in motion when I realised it was becoming a Monochrome, so the opportunity for any inscription had passed. Inscriptions, I think, should be applied to the virgin canvas and it may or may not remain visible.
While researching Otis Jones for the recent ‘Inspiration’ post, I stumbled upon this great resource full of interviews with contemporary painters. Head over to Copenhagen Contemporary to check it out.