Friday 29 February 2008

Pressure at the Club

Back to the Club again. This time, I was working on the Old Town Hall painting I started last week.. There are real problems with this one, not least the paucity of information I can get from the photograph taken from across the motorway. Nevertheless, progress was made:


Old Town Hall (second day) 

 But the pressure is on to get this finished. When I go to collect my Figure 8 work from Gateshead Library Gallery on Monday, I have to hand in the Heritage Buildings paintings. There were going to be three, but two will have to do; no time to complete another.

Wednesday 27 February 2008

Still Life Painting

I was woken early this morning by a man at the door who said, "Mr Martin?" I shook my head and mumbled , "No."

"Gaynford Close?" he asked. I shook my head, and mumbled another, "No."

He looked puzzled and stared at the piece of paper in his hand for a while. "Do you know where it is?"

I shook my head .... well, you get the picture.

After he'd gone, I figured it would just be lazy to go back to bed, so I decided I'd go to the Art Club. Last week was the start of the new Wednesday Still Life Group and, although I'd put my name down as an interested party, I couldn't go. Today I would show my support.

As it turned out, I was the Wednesday Still Life Group this week. No one else turned up, so the studio was all mine. I made some coffee, turned on the radio which would generally get a shout of "Put that bloody thing off!" and thought about what I might want to paint in the still life vein.

It's about ten years since I last sat down in front of an object and tried to paint it in one go. I found an old shell, a tea towel and a small table, and off I went. The paint soon got pretty worked up and I had to resort to the palette knife and dollops of Spectragel, but in the end I felt that one and a half hours had been well spent. I think I'll do it again.

Shell (oil on board, 5 x 5 ins)

Thursday 21 February 2008

More Heritage

Old Town Hall (1st stage)

I started another of the "Heritage Buildings" pictures at the Club today. I feel like I'm really flying by the seat of my pants with this one. The colours with which I've laid it in are much more exaggerated than I might normally use, mainly because the subject is so difficult. The Old Town Hall is a nice enough old Victorian building, but it's difficult to get a good look at it it, or indeed take a decent photograph. To get the reference photograph I'm using, I had to stand on a grass verge at the other side of a motorway.

As a consequence, to try to make it an interesting composition, I cranked up the colour in the sky and the Sage in the background. As the picture progresses, it's possible the colour will be played down again and simply become more complex, but I have no real idea if this will happen.

But then, that's half the fun of painting: the not knowing. Richard Diebenkorn said:
I can never accomplish what I want, only what I would have wanted had I thought of it beforehand.

Thursday 14 February 2008

Shipley Art Gallery

Shipley Art Gallery (Oil on canvas, 11 x 14 ins)

I pushed myself to get this done at the Club today. It's one of a set I've been asked to do for inclusion in an exhibition in March. Not really a subject I'd have chosen, but the theme is "Heritage Buildings of Gateshead," so my choices were limited. For something completed in about three hours, it's turned out OK, I think.

I needed to get it done today so that they might consider a photograph in the publicity being prepared this week. There's a flag pole missing, but the paint was too wet to try adding it. I'd rather be able to add it later anyway, because I'm not sure I want it in. I've already eliminated a lamp post.

I wonder why red comes out so strong when photographed? It's not that red in the painting itself - I used mars red toned down with a bit of alizarin crimson - but even Photoshop doesn't seem able to do anything about it.

Monday 11 February 2008

A Vaporetto Painted

Vaporetto (Oil on canvas, 30 x 30 ins.)
Time to stop tinkering with this one and sign off on it. I think it works pretty well. No, because it's Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk Day, I should be more positive and say - I'm pleased with it. There.

Friday 8 February 2008

Crash Survivor

Here's a conundrum. You find that after a computer crash, all the program drivers for your devices - graphics cards, sound cards, modem, CD-ROM - are corrupted or missing. All the drivers are available on the disks you've carefully stored away, or can be downloaded from the Internet. But you can't run the disks because the CD-ROM won't work because the driver is corrupted or missing. And you can't download the drivers because the modem won't work because the driver for the modem is corrupted or missing so you can't connect to the Internet ...

What do you do in a situation like that? Well, what you do if you're me - which you're not, but for the purposes of this exercise, you can pretend - is you sit and fume for a while, you try everything you can think of, to no avail, and then you send for a Computer Man and pay him money to put it right.

It's always interesting to look through the list on the Sitemeter to see what referrals to Boogie Street there have been. Given the recent lay-off due to computer problems, there was a nice long list to browse through, so trends were more noticeable than might otherwise be the case.
For a blog more or less devoted to painting, it's quite a chastening experience to find that a sizeable proportion of my visitors came wandering down Boogie Street in search of, first of all, the meaning of the words "Boogie Street," then the standing stones on Machrie Moor, Chip Chadbourn, a drawing of a banana palm (at least it's my drawing) but more importantly than anything else, whatever happened to Jimmy Nail.

At the Art Club on Thursday, I found myself between pictures, so I pulled out one of my neglected earlier pictures. It's a double set of balconies in Crete which was fighting me a while ago. I think I may be making headway with it now.
Balconies (Work in progress)