Tag Archives: sky

would you buy this painting?

Monday 17 September 2012

water surface abstract painting, the constant flow of water, currents, tides, waves, crashing, drowning

[untitled water painting, acrylic on linen, 20cm x 20cm]

dear reader, would you buy this painting? it’s never been in a gallery or an exhibition (it has no picture frame) and it’s very unlikely to be. i seem to have a lot of paintings (or works) like this – many things started, but never really finished. if i add up the work i haven’t really finished to the other work which i think is done, then the work soon mounts up…

river water painting, intriguing surface patterns, depth, flow and force of water

so what is it with this imagined water surface? i always tell myself not to use philosophy to express a thought which i would never have entertained myself, so to paraphrase Nietzsche, the higher you fly the smaller you will look to those on the ground, is an idle thought which seems relevant to this feeling of uncertainty, a conflict or contradiction, between what you want and what you get by doing something…

fast water flowing, painting, thinly layered washes and moving pools of colour, painted from memory

within the perceived depths of water (rather than the sky) perhaps it is the counterpoint to thinking that, being above and yet below, in the ebb and the flow, but what do i know..?..

the element of water, the high seas, the oceans, ships and shorelines, rivers and ports, a significant part of family history, and then making a small connection…

it is not the river that influenced this small painting; it could be the weather, the rain, the floods, the seashore and the waves. perhaps it is an ocean (in the shade of blue), and where there is an ocean there is also the air and the big blue sky, but sometimes clouds, or storms, forming and dispersing, influencing, mirroring, moving, from one element into another…

anyhow, it’s just a thought…

[see also: on the surface, water paintings]

on drawing things out again

Monday 16 May 2011

today, dear reader, you might like to take a peek inside this recent travelling sketchbook…

sketchbook drawings - trees in a landscape

last weekend i started & subsequently filled this most diminutive of sketchbooks with some simple line drawings… each sketch is 10cm x 14.5cm…

sketchbook drawings - more trees in a landscape

travelling with a pocket-sized sketchbook and an ink pen…

sketchbook drawings - trees in a landscape

here is a selection of some of those small sketches…

sketchbook drawings - a gnarled old tree

observing & remembering the patterns of the natural world…

sketchbook drawings - tree bark

such as an old olive tree, slightly leaning, its bark gnarled…

sketchbook drawings - water surface patterns

or watching below, where the water flows…

sketchbook drawings - surface patterns water

and where the earth grows…

sketchbook drawings - surface patterns made by water

where something can be found…

sketchbook drawings - more patterns

from looking down, at the ground…

sketchbook drawings - sky

or somewhere way up high…

sketchbook drawings - dark skies

in the dark infinity of a sky…

sketchbook drawings - night sky

still seeing clouds, in the rise above them…

i really like the limitation of size – but it is not planned that way, nor perhaps is it even relevant to my paintings, but if someone was to pack me off to greenland on a drawing expedition i would probably be very happy to go… every artist should draw something everyday for it enables one not just to observe but to think singly & deeply about something, even just for a short time…

i always find myself reminded by the simple process of drawing how sometimes it seems so difficult to really understand how another person might think, feel or respond to something, how difficult it is to communicate a personal sense of something that has no adequate means to describe it; but artists will always try and this is what makes art so special…

a while back i conveyed to a very accomplished artist how i felt i had come to a crossroads with anything created in the abstract (i have had similar conversations with many people), about how i felt i was not always succeeding in conveying a genuine feeling about something, without resorting to the means of illustration… there was no answer other than trying to find a new way of getting an aspect of my character into the work… i do not want to drastically change course, but rather i want to consolidate the voice that is undeniably and uniquely me… i guess the truth is, i already have it but i won’t find it by looking elsewhere…

more grey sky thinking, out of the blue

Friday 30 July 2010

more cloud gazing this week, torrential rain all day on tuesday (a typically british summer’s day) – this was the view from the window at about 6pm…

electricity power lines outside a window, with cloudy sky
a room with a view

i hadn’t really noticed how prominent these power lines were before; my days must be slowly draining of any meaningful structure if i get distracted by this visual discordance with nature’s billowy curtain… today when i awoke, i did, for a brief moment, wonder what day it was, whether it was saturday already, and that a day of more domestic to-do-tasks await me, tasks which fuel so little enthusiasm as to be remotely filed and archived for just such rainy days

in the manner of these featureless, grey days i have been feeling somewhat melancholic in heart and the vast canvas of the sky seemed to be a reflection of the reality of recent events…

thus, i have not been motivated to paint much, well perhaps for an hour or so, here and there, when the mood takes. it seems too self-indulgent to ‘just paint’ when real-life concerns pile up like the laundry, and then there has been the issue of the quality of daylight

here are a couple of close-up images of one of my current paintings, lichenscape II (a work in progress), taken earlier on today…

lichenscape ii - abstract painting - lichen textures detail
detail of the surface of the painting, lichen on stone textures

i had a rash moment of destructive thinking when evaluating this canvas (perhaps inspired by these photographic reframings, seeing paintings within paintings), deciding that i might cut up the canvas into nine smaller ones – the lack of a decent-sized studio space to work in is almost unbearable at times…

i have found that in attending to these two large canvases (aka the lichenscapes) it has clouded my creative process – i realise that i am trying to condense into these two paintings a subjective concern which would be better pursued over eight or ten (or even more) paintings. myriad other thoughts (too nebulous to be proper working concepts or ideas) also run daily through my mind, and then i have to remind myself to just focus

lichenscape 2 painting - detail of surface textures
another detail of the textured surface of a lichen-esque painting

exhibition news

yesterday evening i attended the private view of the exhibition rebirth. lorraine cooke, the curator of the exhibition, has done an amazing job in bringing this show together. i feel most privileged to have some of my paintings included in this art exhibition.

i realise that i am still reticent in ‘working‘ the private view scenario, as i slowly perused the exhibition on the opening night – this is probably due to: a) being very slight and thus am always less ‘visible’ in a busy gallery crowd, and also b) a (now) love/hate relationship with my new dr marten boots. i walked to the gallery from the train station and worked up some fine blisters – such small injuries can really be the breaking of the spirit.

i also met and chatted with the artist veronica grassi – she has some quite beautiful textural, sculptural pieces in this exhibition. barbara leaney’s dogwood sculptures are also quite spectacular, as are the smaller, detailed works of the contemporary japanese artists included in the show. i urge anyone passing through the fine city of norwich to go and see the exhibition at gallery art1821 – it is open until 8th september 2010 – you can also read more about the rebirth exhibition on art 1821’s website

to further the idleness of my daily musings and observations, dear reader, may i introduce to you my humble sketching kit? (i always like to travel light, a habit instilled in me since my inter-railing journeys across europe)

winsor newton cotman sketchers watercolour box
my winsor & newton sketchers’ box of watercolours

very small jam jar for sketching watercolours
a tiny tiptree jam jar (for water)

assorted sketching pencils derwent and caran d'ache
an assortment of stubby sketching pencils, mostly derwent & caran d’ache

and here is a composite image of my sketchbookiness of the last few days, 21-29 july, 2010…

sketchbook pages - studies of clouds and skies, late july 2010
skies and clouds sketches

sketchbook drawing - study of a grey cloud
monday, mid afternoon, looking east across fields towards marshes, high up in the sky, grey centre… in graphite, pencil and watercolour…

sketchbook drawing - more skies and clouds
wednesday, early afternoon… looking east, cooler, bright, clouds moving fast… in graphite and pencil…

sketchbook drawing - study of an afternoon sky
thursday, late afternoon, slim, dark clouds moving laterally, about 5pm…

this is becoming slightly obsessive; i have a mild desire to master the morphing art of the east anglian skies…

and i penned another haiku style poem, or my own ode to a cloud

a cloud
tarnished silver
darkening the weeping willows

i am now thinking of joining the cloud appreciation society, whose pledge is to fight the banality of blue-sky thinking

see my cloud drawings animation from last year: the art of idleness

last chance to seetextures, traces & elements at beyond the image gallery – the exhibition closes at 4pm on sunday 1st august 2010.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

Marcel Proust (remembrance of things past)