mardi 27 décembre 2011

Painting in December.

mid- winter. Salabert. oil on canvas. 120x120 cms.

It is unusual for me to be able to make a painting straight out of the box. I am an inveterate fiddler and find it difficult to leave things alone to the point of reworking whole areas long after I have put a painting aside. They are rarely precious enough to keep as they are, but this one has come together in a seemless movement during the weeks of mid-winter.

I like Francis Bacon's remarks about splashing the stuff on, but also what he said about the way in which the painter deliberately loses what is there in order to risk some new gain. That ebb and flow on the canvas delights me, trying not to worry about what might be but what is now.

It is a different painting to that with which I ended last year: I am still exploring the photograph as a means of seeking out areas of light and dark, detail and spatial ambiguities. The last two paintings are based upon small areas, seen through my workroom door and it is these that I think offer clues to some that might be done during the new year.

jeudi 1 décembre 2011

Heads Up.

Over at Painters Table there have been some interesting posts on drawing and the portrait: Ingres, Philip Pearlstein, Paul Housley, Freud, Lorenzo Lotto. Very little is mentioned these days of Sickert, or Gilbert Spenser, Mathew Smith, or Keith Vaughn.

Painting the head, that closest of observation, is a fascinating commitment. John Rothenstein opined that it shouldn't be done too often but looking at Rembrandt's recurring visage suggests that there is much to learn by so doing.

On my table at the moment is a monologue on the Israeli artist Avigdor Arikha. Because I never learned to paint the head I need to look at a range of good work and I am grateful for Painters Table, and for books of course.