Sunday 31 July 2011

Saturday in Edinburgh

For various reasons I ended up going to Edinburgh on Saturday, despite the Private View being next Saturday. It gave me the opportunity to see my work framed and on the wall, without the crowds I'm hoping for next week getting in the way.

I think they make a good display and should attract buyers, but what do I know?

The best part of the trip, however, was catching up with my old mate Jim Barker, whom I haven't seen for 30 years. We had a great day out in an unusually hot and sunny Edinburgh and it seemed like not a day had gone by since we saw each other last, although the amount of catching up proved how wrong that was.

Thursday 21 July 2011

Silver Hills

Silver Hills (Fountain pen, coloured pencils, A5 sketchbook)

At a bit of a loose end following the intense period of making the Edinburgh paintings, I found myself looking out of the study window today. For the first time in the twenty years I've lived in this house, I decided to draw the view across the Team Valley to the Silver Hills.

Thursday 14 July 2011

Chambers Street, Edinburgh

Chambers Street, Edinburgh (Oil on canvas, 12 x 12 ins)

I am not interested in 'copying' what is in front of me. I find copying pictures very useful and enjoyable up to a point, but copying nature is a different affair. It is, at best, a dull occupation, though I much enjoy using a camera, and find photographs of people and places a good jog to the memory and they can see and record things in a fresh light, or an aspect that had not struck you before.

John Piper (The Artist and the Public, published in Current Affairs No. 96, 2 June 1945)

I quote this for a number of reasons, the first being simply that I admire John Piper's work a great deal and am always interested to read something he said. I suppose another reason is that - justified or not - this painting reminds me a little of Piper. More than anything else, however, is that although I use photographs as source material, this is not what Chambers Street looked like on the day I took this photograph. The details of the structure are more or less accurate, but the whole thing has been filtered through my imagination (and the filters of Photoshop) to bring me closer to what I felt said something to me about the place (and in passing, about colour).

The same process was applied to all of the Edinburgh paintings.

Deacon Brodies Tavern

Deacon Brodies Tavern (Oil on canvas, 12 x 12 ins)

Deacon Brodies Tavern is also on the Royal Mile and it's another I haven't been in. I must make more of an effort in future.

Wee Scotland Shop

Wee Scotland Shop (Oil on canvas, 12 x 12 ins)

This fine emporium of .... Scottish memorabilia and ... um..... tartan stuff is on the Royal Mile leading up to the Castle. I think peculiar little shops like this help to make a city human.

Jekyll & Hyde

Jekyll & Hyde (Oil on canvas, 12 x 12 ins)

This pub is on Hanover Street, not too far from the Di Rollo Gallery. Amazingly, I've never been inside.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Evening, Hanover Street

Evening, Hanover Street (Oil on canvas, 30 x 30 cm)

Paint what you see, not what you know, is a useful maxim and one I usually subscribe to. So why did I question the way this painting was going? Because I didn't believe the evidence of my eyes, or at least what I could see in my own photograph. I knew the spire in this view was a long way behind everything else, so I wanted aerial perspective to make it fall back.

When I went to Edinburgh again recently, I made a point of looking at this view again and again and sure enough the visual weight of the spire (which appears to belong to The Hub) is such that it really does force itself forward. So finishing the painting turned out to be far easier than I'd persuaded myself it would be.

In my report of the research trip to Edinburgh I neglected to mention the very warm welcome Pat and I received when we called in at the Di Rollo Gallery. A special expedition was launched to bring in a supply of very good biscuits and wine and coffee flowed. We really enjoyed what was intended to be simply a brief "hello".

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Pub No.2

Second Pub (work in progress)

Late last night I decided I needed another Edinburgh pub painting. This is the result. It's moved along quite nicely, so I'm confident it can be finished in time to take them all to the gallery on Saturday where they'll be framed.

Monday 11 July 2011

Shop Work

Shop (work in progress)

Some corrections and redefining on this painting today. One of the dangers of buying relatively cheap Chinese canvases is that they're not always perfectly made. In this case, I realised yesterday that the canvas is not a true square. It's slightly off-square, enough to throw some of my earlier work out of square too.. I reckon I've put that right today and when the canvas is framed, there won't be anything amiss.

Saturday 9 July 2011

More Pub Work

Pub (work in progress)

An hour or two today moving this pub painting along. Forget what I said about one painting being more difficult than the other. In fact, this is likely to prove the more difficult, whereas I thought the shop painting would pose problems.

It was unfair of me to ask you to say which would be the difficult one and even more unfair to ask you to say why. The actual reason is because the photograph I have of the shop is full of people milling about in front of the door and downstairs window. Luckily, the Interweb managed to fill in the missing information for me.But you weren't to know that. I think I was just talking to myself out loud.

Friday 8 July 2011

The Race is On Again

Pub (work in progress)

Shop (work in progress)

The race in the title is a race against time, of course. I have just over a week to complete my pictures for inclusion in the Di Rollo exhibition, if I want them to be framed by the gallery.

Pat and I spent a day in Edinburgh last week collecting material for paintings but I've had trouble with my printer which insists on printing everything far too dark. Eventually I had to resort to having my photographs printed professionally but this meant some delay in getting started on the new work.

Nevertheless, here I am now with two new small paintings begun of a pub and a shop in Edinburgh. One of them may prove more difficult to complete than the other. Can you guess which, and for what reason?