Looking back and reviewing work this year.  A lot of experimenting with texture.  And pigment.  A lot of painting done from an uncertain beginning but somehow finding itself in the process, and other paintings with a clear design, which only have a small element of unpredictability.  This painting “Sack Of A Great House” came straight from the unconscious into being, and rang true, which is pleasing.  However, I hope to spend a little more time soon with a clearer idea of subject matter from the outset…Not so much as to ruin the important role of the process, but I think the painting I have done so far suggests that I can trust myself to express what I want, and with that knowledge, I feel confident to set to the business of painting with more assurance than I have so far demonstrated.  There is always a strong sense of direction, even in the most spontaneous painting.  Maybe I should create more of an environment for the imagination, pull things in a little tighter, and see what happens with that?

The colder weather always puts me in a writing, or rather, typing mood.  It keeps my hands warm  in what is a very cold office.  First on my list today is my visit to the Guardian Private View of The Turner Prize.  It was not an emotive experience for me, and while I can enjoy the experiences I experienced last night, I am not stunned, not impressed, not motivated in any strong direction. I don’t like plastic wine glasses at all, but the wine was nice.  I had good company, and it was fun, we laughed a lot.  Shame the rest of the gallery was not open, I would have enjoyed it more.

I do like the painting of Dexter Dalwood, I like what he is doing in it, I like the collage effect, I like the size, but  I find the surface of the painting uninteresting and want the surface to offer me more…the flatness does not appeal to me.  There was some of his painting in the books at the gallery which I thought were better than some on display, and I would have liked to see them up on the wall.  I don’t think all the work on show was his strongest work, but I am sure there are many reasons (that  I am blissfully ignorant of) as to what exactly was selected.  So, in summary, I did enjoy the work of Dexter Dalwood…give me a painting any day, with a bit of a pictorial element, some visual variety, some evidence of imagination, and a nice big size, that can be hung on the wall.  That’s what I go for.

I take a look  from time to time,  at the prints of Ivon Hitchens paintings in my much loved “Ivon Hitchens” by Peter Khoroche, and almost cry. Now, them, even though only delivered to me through printing ink on flat paper, and small in size too, I do find emotive.  If I sound like an incurable romantic, then it may be that this is what I am.  And in the “real” world,  I’m looking…looking at clouds and buildings, pigments in the direct sunlight, the types of pigments used for painting walls, how they change, how they relate, and they are coming closer to me I hope, almost like the air I breathe. I’m not painting right now, but I am forming many images in my mind as I concentrate on seeing and perceiving more of the light and colour and shape and form around me. With all my recent studies on the formal aspects of painting, I still find myself looking to nature, and I think there is a wonder there, that I could easily miss if I spent too much time with my own work.

One thing irked me at the Turner Prize Exhibition, and that, I must confess, did come from a little jealousy, but of a very practical nature.  Simply…How great it would be to be able to paint on a sizable canvas, rather than the small scale substrates I normally use.  All my paintings have to be stored in an already very full house.  We must work with what we have.  At least I experienced no other jealousy about any other aspect of the Turner Prize Exhibition.  Oh, there was the room, the space, of course.  That is a great space.  Room.  Room to fill.  I wish I had that.  Nothing else though.

Ah well,   I had my painting big moment.

NOTE:  Inserted later….you tube video of the mural painted for Trafalgar Junior School in Twickenham…

Just put together a little video of a selection of my drawings from 2008 – 2010.  Do take a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQnLHf8qlJ4

I have much to explore with drawing, and I am rather taken up with painting at present, but I am planning to use my sketchbook more, and I am hoping that over the Summer I will produce many more sketches and drawings which hopefully I will at some point put to use in a painting or two.  Drawing interests me in that it is one  way of developing visual awareness and sensitivity and it is  an extremely valuable discipline.   I learnt lots of different approaches during the time I spent life drawing, and I want to experiment with them over the Summer, out of doors, at West Dean Gardens, where I am repeating the excellent “Landscape and Figure Painting in Oils – The British Tradition” tutored by John T Freeman.

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