dimanche 27 mai 2012

Terrain, inside and out,

One can speak of being inside and outside landscape: observing and participating. The window on the world is something that we have long been familiar with and there is a stasis which has worked  to place us in relation to landscape as an onlooker. The problem of describing involvement with landscape has also been addressed, one doesn't have to think hard about this, and I have mentioned Peter Lanyon in a previous post although with him there is the cultural engagement too. 

I was reading about Simon Edmonson yesterday, the paintings that he had been making in Spain, the concept of I within It, John Clare; Ortega y Gasset, who proclaimed that "I am I and my circumstances", Gerard Manley Hopkins. What I wonder can be said in paint about Landscape and human existence. How is paint to be used to set down what is seen and felt just being in IT. And what is IT? The wind in the trees, the sun on the face, the force that is the fundamental basis of nature, and nothing to do with us.  It is a poor thing I think to try to use coloured stuff squeezed from a tube, a poet would come nearer, words are more than adequate, words are progenitive, I say tree and you think of any number of different trees, the word gives birth to its offspring and expands our sense of the world: what use is paint? 

Terrain. oil on wood panel. 50x50 cms.


                                              A gust of wind.  oil on canvas. 80x80 cms.

mercredi 23 mai 2012

PWD - Prostrate with dismal.

It is an expression we use and usually makes us laugh so it's a good header for a quick post. I have been looking at blogs dealing with the portrait -so many of them - and thinking about a very moving novel by Chaim Potok, called My Name is Asher Lev. This is still available in print at Amazon. I can recommend it

jeudi 17 mai 2012

Art Today- against the grain.

I came across a copy of The Human Clay catalogue and in it R.B.Kitaj saying this: I have thought how good it would be to make at least some pictures keeping ordinary people in mind along with some of the other things kept in mind while making a picture. Maybe not to do that kind of thing every day of the week but to do it (and have the imagination to communicate the act) some of the time.It can only be a recognition of how ordinary one is oneself.When I'm told that good art has never been like that ,I doubt it.

And further he says, if you have a great subject, a person or people or a face or some complex theme, you have no right to be negligent about form and colour. Great themes demand the highest artistic qualities and ambitions. Now, what I can't figure out is this: do form and colour, do the highest artistic qualities demand great subjects? Or can it be said to be negligent to isolate these qualities. The only real answer must be: for some of us yes, for some of us no.

dimanche 6 mai 2012


This is picking up where I left off to work on the painting of the head, which still has a long way to go.

In an article that I have been reading, an interview with Euan Uglow, he talks about whether a painting is true to life and states that he doesn't know what that is. He gets a visual experience and it is that that he trying to make the concept of the painting, but that doesn't mean that it is true to life and he doesn't paint from photographs because he likes the poignancy of the right light at the right time hitting a bit of colour. As this painting progresses getting the right bit of colour and the right space for it to be in seems to be essential but hard to achieve. In the painting of the head it is not the individuals visual characteristics that is the problem but how to make the space that the head inhabits and reacts with. Not going too well at the moment and has had to be scraped back and reworked a lot. However with this painting the accretions are slowly moving to create the space that feels like looking and shifting my focus. True to life it is not: true to the process of looking - I hope so.