Saturday, 8 August 2009

First Big One


View from the Keep (work in progress)

Having said all that about unfinished work, I have to leave one or two that I was keen to finish, unfinished for now. For most of the year I've been conscious of needing to get some work done for the Figure8 show at the Red Box Gallery in September. Red Box is a prestigious gallery and any work there will, I hope, be seen by people with good connections.

What I wanted to do for this show was to find a way of reviving my interest in painting Newcastle. For some time I've felt that I'd exhausted that interest (and it was a passionate interest!) but recently I began to think that looking at the city again, taking into account my more colourful approach of the last year or so, might produce something fresh.

I appreciate the danger, discussed in the previous post, of building up a "mere" interest into a false "passionate" interest, but I believe this time I've got it right.

Last week I ordered a couple of canvases, 3 feet by 4 feet, and they arrived on Thursday. On Thursday night I began by laying down an acrylic imprimatura of raw sienna and by teatime on Friday I'd reached the stage you see above. Sorry about the quality of the photograph - it's going to be difficult to photograph this one.

6 comments:

chrisbellinger said...

Looking Good Harry

April Jarocka said...

Good luck with this one Harry and with the show. I'm sure your work will go down well.

harrybell said...

Chris and April - thank you both.

ian gordon said...

I admire your "old" paintings of Newcastle. It's not a city I'm over familiar with, but my "kid sister" lived there for some years and she remains besotted with the place. Those paintings really capture something of its character and history, (especially those of the bridge.) In short, you have an affinity with the subject that goes beyond the canvas surface. "Passion" might indeed be the term.

All your work is good, in my opinion. But possibly one could say of paintings like "Wooden Train", "Cars and a GT", and "Brighton Cafe", that the Process on the canvas surface is more evident than the Passion; the process of selecting and arranging shapes from the seemingly commonplace and transforming them via composition and colour into something which makes one "look again" and reassess the original subject matter.

I shall be most interested to see how you paint Newcastle now, using your brighter palette. I think it's an exciting prospect.

harrybell said...

Thanks, ian. I like the "old" ones too, but I know I've moved on so much that there's no going back to that way of looking at Newcastle.

I see the distinction you're making between the Newcastle paintings and the more recent ones derived from a careful compositional construction. What I've discovered is that, even in the older paintings, the composition had to be right for me before I could feel really good about the picture. So its the overall design that I've been working on, coupled with a heightened colour sense, of course.

Passion for me is, I'm sure, shown in my love of the city and embodied in the way I paint it, but in a different way - as you've described - it's also I hope evident in the huge satisfaction I find in perfect compostion.

Anonymous said...

Newcastle? That's like, what, the *same place* as Gateshead, isn't it?

At least that's what I hear from the wilds of Wiltshire.

--
Bruce T.