Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Not so placid sea

Winslow Homer was an American water colourist around the turn of the 19 th to 20 th century and spent some time in my countryside at Tynemouth. He did several paintings of fishwives working the tideway at Cullercoats which lies on the coast midway twixt Tynemouth and Whitley Bay.

Girl in an apron, yes but not quite in the placid settings I placed my apron girls. Nor is the sea quite the Mediterranean depicted in the last posting. The North Sea is rarely thus. No lingering in the warm sun here. Its do what you came to do and get back in the warm, quick.

I like this work. It has caught the essence of a workaday life in an uncomfortable setting. Homer's subsequent work, on his return to the USA was a little more genteel.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Stranger gazing out to sea

One of my latest pieces, a girl in Hellenic period dress gazing out over the sea. Figurative and seascape combined.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

An Obsession (5)

"Homage to Jawlensky" was painted about a month ago. About time, I reckoned, I did a version of the original that has taken me on this artistic journey.
I didn't really awaken to this until I was delivering a lecture in Larnaka, Cyprus, back in 2009 where I showed some slides of my work and this time showed a full retrospective rather than focussing on more recent stuff. To my surprise, the "Girls in Aprons" aroused much interest and it was one of the full-time teachers at CYCA who suggested that I explore this in more depth, especially at this stage in my career. There is an obvious underlying thread.
They could be right. These works have always been painted in a random off-and-on manner. I always kept the subject at arms length lest this obsession grow into a compulsion. But now I think the time has come to explore this a little more.

If there is anyone out there reading this, I welcome your comments.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

An Obsession (4)

Moving things along a little, here are two later examples. I have moved on from the blue dress/white apron image to shades of grey. Dark grey dress/light grey apron. These are post 2005 by which time I had retired from nursing and so no longer addicted, if that is the right word, to the traditional colours of nurses. Incidentally, I always denied these were images of nurses per se but clearly there is some relationship. Such is the nature of things.
I think that at the final analysis artists tend to make statements/comments through their art about their surroundings and the situations they find themselves in.

This particular example shows the model in a meditation pose with hands in lap with the thumbs touching lightly as prescribed in the Zen tradition. Another case of comment about the situation this particular artist regularly finds himself.
The model for these paintings is a life size mannequin in my studio. She is the perfect model. She never moves, never complains, very cheap to feed i.e. doesn't eat, so far as I know, and never answers back. I call her Galateia after the Cypriot Pygmalion legend. Well I would, wouldn't I?

Friday, March 04, 2011

An Obsession (3)

This was painted around 1995. At the time I was starting to look at chiaroscuro works such as those by Carravaggio but at the time of painting this I was also influenced by NASA images from their space programmes where stark differences twixt light and shade were sharpened to an extreme degree. This figure looks as if she is sitting out in space. But that is what I was doing at the time. I made several versions using the exaggerated play of light and shadow. I think another influence at that time was in seeing nursing colleagues moving through the shadowy world of the ward at night. Their white dresses contrasted starkly with the gloom of the background. The main light source at night on a hospital ward is anglepoise lamps directed down on to a table surface or the floor.
This particular piece is painted in acrylic on Fabriano paper. I used Frabriano quite a lot at the time, I liked its rough, canvas-like texture.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

An Obsession (2)

Busy time at Luneside yesterday. The print room is being refurbished and heavy printing machines being moved about though thankfully I was spared helping with that, my days of heavy lifting are long gone. I made the tea, - things like that. Well somebody has to do it! In the evening we had our monthly business meeting. Suffice it to say I never got the chance to get to a PC let alone write up a blog. By the time I got home I was only fit for bed.

Follow on from Jawlensky's picture of a couple of days ago, Girl in a Blue Apron, back in the earlier 1990s I picked up this theme and drew my Girl in a White Apron. It is a pastel drawing on
brown paper, about A5 size give or take a few millimetres.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

An Obsession (1)

About 50 years ago I came across this painting by Alexei Jawlensky, "Girl in a Blue Apron" painted in 1909. I can't say I have become an avid follower of his style of painting though his contemporaries were members of the Blaue Reiter movement, an exciting time in German art of the period. However this particular work struck an emotional chord. Interest has waxed and waned through the decades but never-the-less has remained something of an obsession. I have made versions of this from time to time.

However, for today I thought I'd just show the "cause of it all" and in subsequent posts show a couple of examples of what I made of it.