lundi 22 décembre 2014

Shock Therapy and the end of the year.

six studies for a garden .
winter painting.

 A London day trip and two exhibitions was in itself delightful but a massive shock in that I thought I
knew what to expect at the Constable (V&A) and I was very very wrong. The small works are delicate and breathe gently as he explores what might be possible and refers to earlier painters - it was a delight to see some Thomas Jones there as well - but the big paintings are a revelation. There was hardly anyone there when I went and the lighting did the work no favours: They needed to be seen in daylight.
At the National Gallery the Rembrandts were overwhelmed by tourists and the lighting was very poor indeed, theatrical I thought. I didn't bring back a catalogue for either because in the case of Rembrandt I am fortunate to have a large Skira publication, but the colour rendition in the Constable, Making of a master catalogue was awful. What a shame when it could have been done so well.
If anyone is intending to visit either of these exhibitions the Constable will close on the 11th January, the Rembrandt on the 18th.
As for what I have been doing: it has been mostly drawing with a bit of revision. I like to make changes to things when I have had time to think.

mercredi 10 décembre 2014

Happy Christmas.

To all of you who have spent time reading and looking throughout the year, a very Happy Christmas.

jeudi 4 décembre 2014

Room with a view.

Winter has arrived and I am hunkered down with my view. Three days have produced three pieces on paper and the sky is still grey. Stoves are lit, narcissi planted in the fields, painting is slow. I am going to concentrate on drawing for a while to see if that and looking out at the view will help. Next week I hope to visit the Rembrandt and the Constable in London. I want to see things that can't be seen in books. On my return it will be back to  my room with a view.

mardi 25 novembre 2014

Dear Diary, Not what I thought.

When I started to work the other day I found myself making these, which, was not what I thought would happen after mulling ideas about moving through the landscape. These have much more of a fixed view about them although whilst it is true that I was standing still, more or less, neither are fixed from a single point of view - a photograph taken from where I was standing would bear little resemblance to these views - and they are much closer to the fact of my eyes moving about from one place to another so, continuing to explore moving through, though from a different perspective. or a number of perspectives. Focus changes as the eyes range through a space and I do think about that but I 
don't know how to do it, reference it, on a flat, fixed surface and in this case the example of Cezanne is not what I am looking for and I am not looking to create a system for myself but I do want to convey what I think I am seeing as much as the way that I think I am seeing it.

mardi 18 novembre 2014

Walking through ideas.

                                                                4928  422. morning ride.

Since landscape is an idea and we like to locate our ideas in some way so that we may plot our location and know where we are I have been thinking about how I might register my walking or cycling through the landscape in terms of painting. We are so used to the window, the frame and yet the Chinese have told the story of an event ( isn't walking an event?) using a scroll and therefore the landscape unravels in time as well as through our hands and eyes.

 Now that we have Google maps and street views I can see the plot of my paths before I set foot on them. I can see where they go before I go there. Yet when I traverse these routes there is so much information that it is hard to know what to do with it and how to use it to make the painting, which is not so much a recording of my journey as a distillation of it.


tracks on the land.light on the hill, afternoon / evening. 120x120cm.

My painting is about ideas: I re-use them to further an idea. I have re - introduced the grid because it is the tool used to plot the landscape on the map as much as the tool used to plot a painting. It also does something to the surface that helps me think about space - that which I move through and experience - and how I might place field and sky, tree and path. The space shifts as I look at it. This bit becomes clearer for a moment but then less clear as my eyes refocus and I would like to try some paintings that deal with that aspect of looking. So these are just two more things to think about.   


                                                        oil on wood panel. 120x120cm.

oil on canvas. 50x50cm.

vendredi 7 novembre 2014

This and that.

                                                         oil on paper 80x60cm.

This is the first of the bigger paintings (not so big) that I mentioned as occupying me. If earlier posts are referred to then it will be pretty clear how this came about. The common thread is how the eye presents things seen, the sharpness of a small part, the blurred periphery. The felt linear border between spaces fore and aft. Every time one looks at something there is an amazing wealth of information which needs editing or accounting for. Normally I build up a surface from this information which is not a retailing of what the eye sees but which uses the information for the purpose of making something other. I look at this thing and consider how it might be used to make that painting. It is in the end just a painting: what is interesting is how it becomes that and what it tells us about the process .

samedi 1 novembre 2014

Plus ca change.


There are ten years between these two selfies. The autoportrait exhibition closed this years programme at La Tour , Montsales and now I can think more about working with my surroundings although that never really goes away and no matter what, is always ticking over. There are a lots of horses parked in the fields around here (which I suspect is a tax dodge of some kind) and with them comes a lot of white tape to persuade them to stay put. This has begun to find its way into my painting so I'll see in what way it can contribute.

dimanche 19 octobre 2014

A moment in time.

                                                       hillside. oil on paper. 76x56cm.

I am drawn to the idea of landscape which resonates and means nothing. In front of a painting we may bring our own experience and find our own meaning. Information given, information pared down, releases us to build anew. This is not a landscape that I can see on my walks but it is often there in some form or other. Events occur, time passes, an idea is fixed. Nothing much happens and continues to happen.

mardi 7 octobre 2014

Evening walks.

Light in the evening and the way space appears compressed is something that I have been thinking about. Stage sets come to mind as does the space in quatrocento painting where the observer has to negotiate his or her position in front of something that alludes to space but which is, in itself flat : the light on a sloping field that I see often makes fun of my a priori knowledge by tilting the space towards me. Anyway this will give me something to think about in the next few paintings which have begun already like this........
Anyone who has read Martin Buber's I and Thou will see the other as an opportunity for conversation no less in pictures than in spoken language -Another out there to address - and so today I am thinking about a field which I have not seen for a few days. It is there in my memory and imagination and I'm extrapolating from it as I make these paintings.

lundi 6 octobre 2014

Autoportraits NOW.

Daniel Lefranc

Charles de Rodat

                                                                    Ian Warburton


Patrick Laroche

The exhibition opened on Saturday and will run until Thursday 30th October. Here are a few images of the work on show.

vendredi 26 septembre 2014

Autoportraits.October at La Tour, Montsales.

This is just a heads up now that the catalogue has been printed. Charles de Rodat, Daniel Lefranc, Patrick Laroche and myself will be exhibiting. I still don't know if this will make it in as I have already scraped it down and repainted it maybe six times. It probably shows by now. Just to remind french readers the show opens on Saturday 4th October at six pm. Samedi 4 Octobre a dix-huit heures. Venez nombreuses.

p.s. I don't think this will be there either but I keep fetching it out and looking at it.

dimanche 7 septembre 2014

Doggedly working through the dog days of summer.

garden towards afternoon.
oil on canvas 80x80cm.

garden, late afternoon.
oil on canvas 80x50cm.

oil on paper 80x45cm.

The approaching auto portrait exhibition at La Tour. Montsales has me wondering what it will be like. I have measured the space, and set it out on my shed floor, tried various combinations, enlisted the help of an artist I respect to make a selection but still feel the need to keep at it - less than a month to go. Meanwhile I have made these paintings to give myself a break from all that headbanging.

mardi 15 juillet 2014

Montsales approaches. A moving target.

As this show approaches I have been trying to do something with the fact that, in the act of looking, one's head is never still and one is trying to get a sense of the object when seen in this way. Slight movements, set down result in a layering which somehow becomes more like. We will see where this leads -it might be ultimately unsatisfactory or it might move me on.