Sunday, 31 January 2010

Drawing an Important Part of the Process

Drawing is really important in my work.  I find the process of drawing is all absorbing, meditative and  informative, helping me to really focus on the subject and the elements which are going to be important in the painting.  It helps me get right into the subject, delving below the surface.  It also helps to highlight the patterns in nature which are a key element of my work.  I like to take the drawing back to the studio and use it as a reference for the painting. This gives my imagination an opportunity to flourish.  If I paint outside I find the work becomes staid.

Here are some examples of my drawings. I always work in pen and ink on cartridge paper, enjoying the flexibility of the pen as I hatch the shapes. The first drawing below is one that is waiting to be used for a new painting.   I really like the abstract quality of this mountain peak so I am looking forward to working on it. The others have now been used for paintings that can be seen in my previous blogs - work that has been completed in the past two months.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

First paintings of 2010

2010 has got off to an energetic start.The snow on the peaks opposite my studio has prompted a series of 5 large canvasses. I prepared each with a background of black acrylic before starting work with the oils and have kept to the very limited palette I promised myself at the end of last year.  I wanted a stark, rugged quality to each piece, concentrating on the summits of the mountains where the snow etches each crag and fissure. I deliberately kept the skies a very dark blue black so that the mountains themselves are the focus of attention.
From here, where I look at the range of the Pyrenees across the valley of the Tet river, the mountains are picture postcard sculptural, stretching away across the horizon for 30 kilometres or more.  Up close they can be dark and brooding at times, with that latent power that echoes their original thrust up through the surface of the earth. I wanted to capture some of that power in the work.
So here are two of the finished pieces - one measuring 100 x 80cms and the other 100 x 100cms. 

And this one below is a work in progress of the peak of the Canigou mountain opposite my home:

After this I may have to go back to an orgy of colour !  In the meantime, one patient dog has spent long hours in that basket under my desk in the studio!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

New Year ... Work in Progress

There is a really good quote about feelings that you can read on my friend the photographer Mark Lang's website  and it was echoed by a comment on this blog site from the abstract artist David Weir

The quote on Mark's site rang loud bells with me in relation to my landscape work. It puts into words what I am looking for in my own work - here is what he has to say:

"I would like to think that in my work there is a sense of the spirit of the land.  That in every rock and tree there is an awareness of a presence just as tangible as that of a human form, and that everything we see in the landscape deserves our love and respect."

The above painting is a work in progress measuring 100 x 100 cms.  The spirit of the mountains here eluded me for the first three years....but I think something may have slotted into place.  It could possibly have come about from the abstract work I started to do before Christmas. I hope it conveys some of the sense of awe that the mountains inspire, their rugged masculinity - their extraordinary contrasting moods.