dimanche 18 juin 2017

Work in progress


oil on board 85x54 cm


oil on board 56x40 cm


oil on board 56x40cm



oil on board 36x20cm




oil on paper. 78x60 cm




ink, charcoal, emulsion on paper.120x110cm

Very different pieces in progress at the moment. The drawing is tentatively entitled The bush in the rain.
The upper paintings are a move away from the descriptive/figurative work that has been the result of repeatedly engaging with the subject of the bush. I felt pressure to break from that and I intend to push on with this to see where it leads.
I must just mention La Tour, Montsales, Aveyron in France. There is a truly lovely exhibition there at the moment, a Tapestry show, but with baskets, photographs, small scale very fine tapestry and three dimensional work from Scotland and France. The website can be found at www.galerielatourmontsales.com. Two weeks left of the current show.

lundi 22 mai 2017

One blog at a time.


field. oil on paper.


bush, morning, oil on paper


                                                       salabert, bush, oil on paper . 78x60 cm

I would like to draw attention to Painting Perceptions, an American blog. I have no connection to it but it is something that I pay attention to. There are a number of very interesting writings about painting on the web; Painter's Table is another one: Sharon Knettell writes  informative, personal and challenging pieces on Painting from Life. The work featured differs markedly from my own but I feel that there is a lot to learn from differing view points and a great deal of commonality too.

Apparently blogging is old hat: instagram is the way forward. See for yourselves.

I'm off to mow a few paths.

vendredi 19 mai 2017

Here lies the body of Ezra Pound.


                                    painting for my mother revised. oil on canvas. 100x80cms.





Lost at sea and never found.  Which is what it feels like this morning after what I thought to have been a productive session . I knocked over a few things and found the bottom two paintings which then made me look at a whole bunch of things made previously but misplaced. I think that I prefer them.

dimanche 14 mai 2017

Early summer trunk.



oil on canvas. 50x50cm



oil on canvas. 30x30cm


I am ducking reworking a larger painting which has already been repainted several times. I am being cowardly and I know it: I thought that I had finished ( Painting for my mother ) but I know it won't do so in the meantime worked on these two: restarting the bigger piece and doing a lot of sitting down, getting up, looking at the bush, the light and dark, trying to remember my mother, being quite sure that I don't know enough about her or how she thought or for that matter how she lived brings me to the brush, the material of the paint and an odd mental juxtaposition  that whilst the painting is not a metaphor for loss, it is about change and about the only thing over which I have control.

jeudi 27 avril 2017

Two garden paintings.





It was Van Gogh who said something like that one person could provide material for many paintings and I feel the same way about the narrow view of my garden. It is always different, always challenging, always providing opportunities.
I photograph my garden a lot: I don't refer to them when I'm painting but they do capture a lot of information that I can use to remind myself of shifts in shadow and how blocks of light and dark can work together. Sometimes they provoke me into considering possibilities that I might otherwise miss and together with the drawings, help to search for some truth. There is quite a difference between these two, given that they have been made within days of each other and I find myself moving between closely observed painting and that which allows for more reordering, invention, call it what you will. It is however still rooted in the view, in the bush as object, in the space as theatre.

dimanche 16 avril 2017

Context




This is a painting that I started just after I turned sixty six and four years later and much repainting I am at a stage where I might let it rest. Is it a likeness? Well, if it and my head were ever to be exhibited together, then maybe but does it really matter? Painting a portrait is about many things, certainly about paint; certainly about context. The painter changes from day to day, hour to hour: the accretion of paint, the working of the paint in fact is as important as the scrutinisation of the head being painted. There are many self portraits which are about the act of painting rather than making a likeness but the questioning that goes on - is it like this, is it more like that? Is it more yellow, is it Naples yellow or Naples Yellow and a touch of Raw Umber ; what is that shape? where is that line exactly?

In Malcom Gladwell's book The Tipping Point (2000) he states that context is crucial to all varieties of human behaviour. We are affected by both large and minute changes and what I am at any one time and in any one place changes as a mutating human organism. So it is indeed a moving target.

I have a friend who entered a competition, filmed in the manner of The Great British Bake Off. She attempted to get a likeness of her sitter without the aid of tablets and squaring up apps. She looked, she applied brush to canvas, she watched the clock. I admire her guts because I wouldn't be able to do that. I need time, years obviously. I will revisit the portrait because it is very interesting and because next time it will be different again. And I am my own sitter and am always here -  for now.


mardi 11 avril 2017

A painting for my mother.


                                                                  the bush. oil on canvas

My mother liked order in her garden, plants well spaced, plenty of soil visible and found the apparent chaos of mine (no soil visible, only gravel) puzzling. Why is it so full? she would wonder. Gardening is trying to force nature into constraints that are the antithesis of wildness. There is a symbiotic relationship between my gardening and my painting. I have to cut a hedge before I can begin to paint it: I have to mow before I can see where to draw.



                                                                charcoal on paper.