I could make that title so much more wordy,  if it wasn’t so early in the morning.

My feet now are recovered from my thirteen hour walk around this years London Art Fair. 

I joined a guided tour led by Pryle Behrman Curator of Art Projects, and I was glad of this because it was interesting and nice and relaxed, not pretentious, which I feared.  He said that he would be happy to talk until “the cows came home”.  I am still waiting for “the cows to come home”, and so the talk I imagine is still in progress…

What stood out for me, alongside waiting for the cows to come home, was, of course, some of the paintings.   Judith Bridgland’s paintings hit me like a kick in the stomach, which doesn’t sound good, but does at least express a little bit of the punch which someone who handles paint like it springs from the tips of their fingers can give to a viewer through the experience of looking at their work.  I am not a great lover of thickly applied paint generally, but when its done like this…I love it.  

Seeing one of Henry Moores prints on hessian was also a highlight for me.  The scale and physicality of the print on the surface of the hessian was something which i have wanted to view “in the flesh” for a while.  It made me note down to remember to experiment with some hessian in my own work.  I’ve done it before but didn’t like it.  However, that’s never a reason not to try something again.   The Boyle Family’s work “Study For The Fire Station With Melted Records” 1989 (Painted fibre Glass) was another beam of similar happiness because to see the actual work in front of my eyes was a proper encounter and one which I have wanted for longer than I can remember,  Well, I can just remember stumbling across their work as a teenager;  it made a huge impression on me.  Looking back on my own work over the last few years, particularly the series of photographs of the ground in my local area, I can see how it seeped into my life unawares.  The unexpected benefits of pushing pushchairs around my locality!

I purchased a book on Michael Honnor.  Because I like landscape paintings, and while I don’t sit outside much and paint myself, to see his work reminds me that I ought to.  Plus I like very much the way he draws into the paint and I need to be continually reminded of that!  I have a notebook full of other painters and paintings which in some way “fed” me, and reminded me either of something which I have just started, or need to try out,  in terms of technique or subject matter.  It’s quite beneficial to see such a mix of work in one place and as the time goes by you gradually recognise more clearly what it is that you are personally drawn to. This itself can be quite helpful in terms of being able to recognise what you love and where your passion and interests lie, and, free to see it in others work and not your own, you get ideas as to different ways you might extend your own experiments.  I am sadly lacking in the amount of critical input I would ideally like in my painting practice right now, (apart from a few fellow painter friends), however, one must be one’s own critic and sustain that position throughout.  I know.  I like other people’s perspectives though.  They are so much more interesting than my own!

On the Duncan R Miller Fine Arts stand “Paxos Fishing Boat” beckoned me…A boat with flowers tied to the front of it.   I’ll say no more, but remember this, and resolve to explore this motif for myself sometime. 

Robert Denny’s 1958  oil on board  painting  (June 1958) cried out for more space, and it’s a problem viewing large paintings in settings like this, but what an inspiration it was.  Very strong dark and light compositional structure held the mixture of strong, heavy brushstrokes with the lighter more fluid areas.   I took some time with this painting, asking “What exactly makes it work so well?” and returned (once more) to the underlying conclusion, (which seems to be proved to me time and time again), that when the composition is right, you can do whatever you want and it will look good.  Well, maybe not “whatever” but let’s just say, you can manage to carry things off in a respectable manner! 

So I leave the fair, full to bursting with paintings I need to paint.  It’s painful, these time limitations and so I must make a hasty exit from this journalling matter to at least increase my chances of getting some block of time today to get some painting done.  I’m pleased to say that I haven’t seen anything like some of the directions I have in my mind to pursue, so that’s good.  Nothing is new, but it’s exciting to think that in some small way you might be wandering off the well trodden path into an area of the forest which is relatively unexplored. 

 

 The problem with painting is its possibilities.  Limitless. Powerful. This scares me.  But as long as it doesn’t scare me enough to stop me stepping over the cliff every time I pick up a paintbrush then it does not have to be a problem.  As for the ideas…that’s another issue.  I have too many, I can’t realise them all.     

I went to the Tate Britain on Friday.  Loved watching a Henry Moore video….and glad a of comfortable chair to watch it in.  Spent most time looking at a painting by Peter Lanyon and also another by Sandra Blow.  I have not come across their work up until now, so I enjoyed this, and did a little research looking at more of their work and life afterwards.

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