Friday 29 January 2010

Rocks Nr Sawrey

Rocks Nr Sawrey (Oil on canvas, 40 x 40 cms)

Thank heavens for the Art Club. On Thursday I found myself with a burning desire to finish off the rock study. I knew there was little to do, so I made a short visit to the Club and put in the branches, did a little glazing with some sap green, signed off on it and came home satisfied.

For most of the time I was on my own, as the boiler in the building has broken down completely and the old gadgies at the Club are feeling the chill. But there are electric heaters and it certainly felt warmer than the studios when I was at University. I'd taken along one of the Brighton cafe pictures, but realised that I need some very small brushes to finish that off. Something for next time.

Wednesday 27 January 2010

2 Funerals

Life, or perhaps death, just seems to be getting in the way at the moment, so progress on the painting front is at a standstill. I went to a funeral on Tuesday where I learned I have a second one to go to next week. Although not desperately depressing, I do find this flattens out the mood and makes getting on with things difficult.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Monday 25 January 2010

Old Drawings #51

After Rain [Charcoal, compressed charcoal on A2 (?) cartridge paper]
Private Collection

Done in 1998 or 1999, this drawing is a view of the Tyne Bridge from a curious little concrete balcony that juts out over The Side. In 1999, it led to this painting, which I sold through a gallery in Leeds. I could have sold it several times over (the Geordie diaspora?), but later I was a little dismayed to come across it online, for sale "still unwrapped". Whereabouts are now uncertain.

After Rain (Oil on canvas) Private Collection

Thursday 21 January 2010

Back at the Club

Rock Study (work in progress)

There was a powerful load of inertia built up over that Xmas and New Year break. Yesterday, although I felt I'd recovered sufficiently from my Week of Constant Coughing to detect a resurgence of interest in painting, I simply couldn't settle on anything specific.

Today I figured that the only way forward was to go to the Art Club, catch up on some gossip and simply launch into the only painting there left to work on. And this is it, now almost finished; just some branches to indicate, which I think are necessary to draw the composition together.

Friday 15 January 2010

Old Drawings #50

Collingwood Monument (Charcoal, compressed charcoal on A4 cartridge paper)

I seem very susceptible to the kind of cold that imparts an endless hacking cough. I collected one from Tesco just over a week ago and it's been wearing me down ever since. 24 hour coughing is very debilitating, and I've had no energy to pick up any of the threads I was working on previously, or to make a start on some new projects I have in mind.

Bear with me? There are, after all, Old Drawings to keep things going. This is another from that lonely walk in 1998 from Seaton Sluice to Tynemouth that resulted in the Seaside Shelter drawing.

Thursday 7 January 2010

Revised Opinion

OK, now we've got snow! After showers of snow every day this week, the depth of snow is certainly equal to many I remember as a child. Amazingly, I've begun to hear again the rumble-rumble----thud! as snow, warmed by the afternoon sun, loosens its grip on the tiles and rolls off the roof.

And there are icicles! I'd almost forgotten how much I loved those glorious, glittering watery confections, now to be seen dangling from the eves of the house,some of them reaching almost three feet in length.

If nothing else, my inner child has been re-awakened by this winter.

Tuesday 5 January 2010

Warm Thoughts from Indoors

Down in the garden, there's a blackbird valiantly pecking at the seed in an effort to get as much of it as he can before the snow covers it all up. Outside my upstairs study window, the snow is swirling and billowing, and inside the study there's me, thinking.

I sometimes wonder whether I think because I'm not painting, or I don't paint because I'm thinking. Either way, I'm thinking. What I really need to do, however, is write down what I'm thinking. There are connections being made, plans formulating and possibilities being explored, but all of this is internalised. It needs to be put on paper so that I can see where it might lead, so that's what I'll be doing for the next hour or two.

As is usual with these thinkfests of mine, there's a book driving me on. This time it's Eric Maisel's Creativity for Life, a book that pulls together some of Maisel's previously expressed views and turns them into an encouraging overview of the problems faced peculiarly by artists. There are exercises at the end of each chapter which, on a quick skim last night, suggest ways I might be able to get my act more securely together than it feels at present.

Whether or not I'd be better off painting than thinking is somewhat irrelevant. It was quite nightmarish trying to get down the backstairs to give the birds their cold weather rations; I'm not sure I fancy shuffling down again to get to the studio. Blimey. I might never get back up again until the thaw!

Speaking as someone born in the historic winter of 1947, I remember much, much worse snow than what we've got now. We really have forgotten how to deal with snow in this country, haven't we?

Monday 4 January 2010

Medallion Man

I was delighted to read on Casey Klahn's blog, The Colorist, that he'd awarded me a medal for one of my posts. Casey has been a firm supporter of my attempts to find a way through what for me was a colour minefield and has applauded my efforts just at the time when I needed encouragement most.

His own work is outstanding and his blog a delight to read. I urge you to follow up his other recommendations and take some time to look over his blog.

Friday 1 January 2010

Happy New Year

As Pat and I walked home last night from our New Year's Eve party, the freshly falling snow crunched underfoot. For the first time in years we're having a proper Winter and, although I'm sure I'll be moaning when the snow turns to slush and ice, I really appreciated the break from those awful grey, wet miserable Winters we've been having.

There was more snow today and for a while it was difficult to see across the Valley to the Silver Hills, but later the sky brightened and I was able to take this photograph from my study window.

I'd like to wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2010.