Capturing the world with Photography, Painting and Drawing

artists

A weekends Drawing – Manchester’s Industrial Landscape ( Charcoal on Paper )

Manchester’s Industrial Landscape
In the style of Trevor Grimshaw
Nigel Borrington
March 2020

This weekend I gave myself sometime to add a physical Charcoal on cartridge paper drawing to last weeks Digital version in my last post. I wanted to do some work in the style of Trevor Grimshaw as I like his drawings very much and felt there was a lot of value in attempting to produce my own versions, I feel that his use of monochrome with its many varying tones, so carefully worked is wonderful…

So here is my first attempt to produce an A3 size drawing 🙂 I am happy with the results but will keep working hard in order to refine this style of working with Charcoal as a medium ……

I also want to add some Acrylic painting works to the project but for now I am loving using Charcoal 🙂


Charcoal drawing – A tribute to the work of Trevor Grimshaw …….

Digital Charcoal drawing
In the style of Trevor Grimshaw

Following my post yesterday, I have started working with my PC based art application ( Krita ) in order to use its charcoal drawings tools to recreate as best as I can the landscapes style of Trevor Grimshaw.

Tomorrow I will give myself time to work at my desk with actual physical charcoal and chalk, I do feel very much however that a digital method of producing a work of art is just as valid in 2020, as working with physical materials, every mark made on my drawing above is made manually using a Wacom art tablet with an art pen. I often use this method of working to work out just how best to construct drawings and painting, when later it comes to sitting down with a sheet of physical paper or canvas.


Artist from My Home town (Trevor Grimshaw)


Trevor Grimshaw
Open Space
1974

I guess we always, no matter how long we have lived away from our place of birth feel that Home is Home!…

I have lived here in Ireland for almost two decades now but when it come to artists I still have two at the top of my list who lived and worked as artists in or around the greater Manchester area in the UK.

At the top of my list will always be Ls Lowry 🙂 I have a post on his work here Ls Lowry and here, If you want to know more about his life and work, Manchester has a great gallery (The lowry Gallery) dedicated to his life and his art work, its a fantastic Gallery and a great source for his history.

While I love the art work of LS Lowry the art work by my other favourite Manchester artist Travor Grimshaw has always been very much in my mind when I think of amazing drawings from the industrial past of the city Manchester, along with many other surrounding towns which at the time contained industrial landscapes such as Bolton.

Northern Townscape 1974 Trevor Grimshaw 1947-2001 Presented by Christie’s Contemporary Art through the Institute of Contemporary Prints 1975

What I like most about Grimshaw’s work is his ability to limit this images down to a single style and his limited use of materials – along with his his use of moody monochromes. I work a increasingly with drawings these days and love the feeling produced when just using medium’s such as charcoal or pastels along with graphite.

Here its like he knew perfectly well that these limited materials were perfect for representing the smoke and coal dust filled factory landscapes of the English north west and he stayed with these materials for the vast majority of this well know works.

Trevor Grimshaw (1947-2001) – Two Telegraph Poles – 1972

Take this image (Two Telegraph Poles) for example, like a lot of his drawings and painting there is little subject matter in them, if you compare these images to the paintings of LS. lowry, these landscape are empty. There are none of the hundreds of people all going about their activities.

All the art work is done here by empty views that contain some of the most moody drawings I think I have ever seen ….

Here is a full description of Trevor’s life and his working career ….

Life and work

Grimshaw was born in Hyde, Cheshire in 1947 and studied at the Stockport College of Art from 1963 to 1968. He developed a unique style working in oils, charcoal and graphite to produce atmospheric, stylised images of the Northern industrial landscape, mainly in monochrome.

As a child he had a passion for steam engines and trainspotting, which continued into adulthood; for example he made the journey to the scrapyard at Barry in South Wales which held hundreds of steam locomotives awaiting scrapping, and made a personal photographic record of the occasion, 34 photo images being used in his publication “Stilled Life”. Much of his work overall features steam engines.

He spent much of his working career at Manchester advertising agency Stowe Bowden Ltd.[citation needed]

Artistic career

Grimshaw exhibited widely in the UK (including at the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Academy in the 1970s) and in the US and Germany. His work was included in the private collections of L.S. Lowry, Edward Heath (two drawings purchased in 1973), the Warburton (Bread) Family and Gerald Kaufman MP., and he is represented in a number of public collections, including The Tate Gallery, Salford Art Gallery, Stockport Art Gallery and Bury Art Gallery.

He illustrated The Singing Street, a book of poems by Mike Harding, and executed limited edition lithographs for Christie’s Contemporary Art. He also did the title slide images for the early BBC Great Railway Journeys of the World series. Artist Geoffrey Key described Grimshaw, a long time friend, as “one of the most important graphic artists working in the north during the last half of the 20th century”.[This quote needs a citation]

While Grimshaw is most celebrated for his black and grey graphite portrayal of post-industrial Britain (e.g. canals, cityscapes, viaducts, steam trains) his portfolio included diverse other subjects such as megaliths, Stonehenge, quarries in North Wales, motorway construction and the solstices (often in combination). Colour treatment was largely reserved for Cheshire landscapes, and pictures of Clarice Cliff ceramics.

L.S.Lowry attended one of his earliest exhibitions, buying three of his major early works to hang alongside his small collection of Pre-Raphaelites. Grimshaw became a regular visitor to Lowry’s home in Mottram.[citation needed]

In 1973 the North West Arts Association published Townscape: Trevor Grimshaw, a book reproducing 30 drawings. In 2004 a major retrospective exhibition was held at Stockport Art Gallery.

By the time of his death, in a house fire in November 2001, Grimshaw had become an alcoholic and a reclusive figure. He held his last show in 1997 in the County Museum and Art Gallery at Prostejov, Moravia, Czech Republic, his 50th show in his 50th year.[citation needed]

Grimshaw’s daughter organised a retrospective exhibition of her father’s work, which took place from February to May 2004 at Stockport Art Gallery.

In June 2014 an exhibition of his paintings, organised by family friend (and owner of the collection).

Ceridwen Grimshaw (Trevor’s youngest daughter) recently discovered negatives taken from Grimshaw’s 1970’s 3 trips to Barry Scrapyard (see above). Almost 100 of these images were unused and 90 will be exhibited at Stockport War Museum and Art Gallery from 11 May 2019 to June 15, titled “Trevor Grimshaw – Unseen Barry Photographs”. Grimshaw’s intention was to show the effects of Barry’s salt air on over 100 steam locomotives awaiting scrapping (although most were eventually saved).


Hans Op de Beeck – Staging Silence

I feel in the need for some inspiration having taken a break from blogging over the last month or two in order to help with some big projects, Now I find myself a little removed from any creative ideas…

So over the next couple of weeks I am going to take a closer look at the work of some of my most loved artists.

Hans Op de Beeck (1969, Turnhout) is a Belgian visual artist who lives and works in Brussels. For over twenty years he has exhibiting internationally.

I first viewed his work at the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny back in 2014 and was instantly taken by his film making, I love his view of the world and the way he reflects on the passage of time in his videos.

Here is just one such a film : Staging Silence

‘Staging Silence’ is based around abstract, archetypal settings that lingered in the memory of the artist as the common denominator of the many similar public places he has experienced. The video images themselves are both ridiculous and serious, just like the eclectic mix of pictures in our minds. The decision to film in black and white heightens this ambiguity: the amateurish quality of the video invokes the legacy of slapstick, as well as the insidious suspense and latent derailmentof film noir. The title refers to the staging of such dormant decors where, in the absence of people, the spectator can project himself as the lone protagonist.

Memory images are disproportionate mixtures of concrete information and fantasies, and in this film they materialise before the spectator’s eyes through anonymous tinkering and improvising hands. Arms appear and disappear at random, manipulating banal objects, scale representations and artificial lighting into alienating yet recognizable locations. These places are no more or less than animated decors for possible stories, evocative visual propositions to the spectator. The film is accompanied by a score which, inspired by the images themselves, has been composed and performed by composer-musician Serge Lacroix.


Histories Best Artists – Leonora Carrington

Leonora Carrington
kron-flower-1987

Leonora Carrington

Born 6 April 1917

Clayton-le-Woods, Lancashire, England

For me leonara Carrington is one of histories great Artists, Personally and I feel the best female artists of all time(IMO), although correctly she fought all her life again the label of “Female Artist” and just wanted to be call an ARTIST period !

Her work should be much better known and would be so but for a few facts , she was producing art at the same time as some the now best known European artist, who would later become house hold names but also she lived and worked during the Nazi period of European Art theft and art control, because of this she ended up in the end making her home in Mexico in a period when no one took anyone not working in Europe or America seriously.

In 1936, Leonora saw the work of the German surrealist Max Ernst at the International Surrealist Exhibition in London and was attracted to the Surrealist artist before she even met him. In 1937, Carrington met Ernst at a party held in London. The artists bonded and returned together to Paris, where Ernst promptly separated from his wife. In 1938, leaving Paris, they settled in Saint Martin d’Ardèche in southern France.

The new couple collaborated and supported each other’s artistic development. The two artists created sculptures of guardian animals (Ernst created his birds and Carrington created a plaster horse head) to decorate their home in Saint Martin d’Ardèche.

With the outbreak of World War II Ernst, who was German, was arrested by the French authorities for being a “hostile alien”. With the intercession of Paul Éluard, and other friends, including the American journalist Varian Fry, he was discharged a few weeks later. Soon after the Nazis invaded France, Ernst was arrested again, this time by the Gestapo, because his art was considered by the Nazis to be “degenerate”. He managed to escape and, leaving Carrington behind, fled to America with the help of Peggy Guggenheim, who was a sponsor of the arts.

After Ernst’s arrest, Carrington was devastated and fled to Spain. Paralyzing anxiety and growing delusions culminated in a final breakdown at the British Embassy in Madrid. Her parents intervened and had her hospitalised. She was given “convulsive therapy” and was treated with the drugs cardiazol, a powerful anxiolytic drug (eventually banned by some authorities, including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)), and Luminal, a barbiturate. After being released into the care of a nurse who took her to Lisbon, Carrington ran away and sought refuge in the Mexican Embassy. Meanwhile, Ernst had married Peggy Guggenheim in New York in 1941. That marriage ended a few years later. Ernst and Carrington never resumed their relationship.

In 1939, Carrington painted a portrait of Max Ernst, as a tribute to their relationship. The portrait was her first Surrealist work, and it was called The Inn of the Dawn Horse. It is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The person in the painting is a cross between a male and a female, who is seated in a room with a rocking horse on the wall.

She also painting this portrait with him as the main character ..

Portrait of Max Ernst
Leonora Carrington
Oil on canvas
date created: About 1939

From the very first time I viewed Leonara’s art works I was captivated, her paintings are full of mystery and magical subjects, without falling into more traditional and classical mythological stories.

I found myself wanting to understand more about the fantasy world that her painting capture, a world of hidden meanings, I still don’t fully understand and here in this video she tells us not of over analyses art and just to enjoy living in the moment. However just looking at her creations you know she must have held many stories in her mind, I will keep looking and discovering!

Leonora Carrington

(6 April 1917 – 25 May 2011) was an English-born Mexican artist, surrealist painter, and novelist. She lived most of her adult life in Mexico City, and was one of the last surviving participants in the Surrealist movement of the 1930s. Carrington was also a founding member of the Women’s Liberation Movement in Mexico during the 1970s.

Looking at many of her painting you can clearly see that her life and work is the source for the movie Pan’s Labyrinth, Director: Guillermo del Toro, Writer: Guillermo del Toro , set in the falangist Spain of 1944, about a bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world, the very same kind of fantasy worlds Leonora Carrington imagined and reflected on in her work.

The best surrealist movie of all time 🙂

Leonora Carrington – Imagination is everything !!!


Looking at Great painting “The Stour”- John Constable, UK 1776 – 1837


CONSTABLE, John
Great Britain 1776 – 1837
The Stour 27 September 1810
oil on canvas
23.8 h x 23.5 w cm
dated ’27 Sepr. 1810′ upper right
John G. Johnson collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art, bequeathed in 1917

Since I returned to Ireland from a holiday in Germany during November, I have found myself turning to my drawing and painting much more again. This is only natural I feel during the winter months , so far this November and December we have had nearly 200mm of rain here in county Kilkenny, (amazing when you think that this is more than double the about for the entire summer) so its been hard to carry and use a camera as much as in a normal winter.

To help me get inspired and make a start I always find myself looking at my most admired classic painters like John Constable.

To me Constable is one of the most misinterpreted classic artist, mainly due to the fact that today his art work has become Synonymous of twee landscapes used on box’s of chocolates and for jigsaw puzzles. Yet when he was starting his carrier as a painter very few people would take on landscape painting and expect to make a living of any kind. Most of the artists of his day would paint classical works reflecting upon mythical stores or portrait works as commissions for the super-wealthy of his day.

The idea that an artist as good as John Constable was, would spend his time painting open landscapes, farms or rivers made little sense to any of his tutors or his peers, many disowned him for doing so. It is this fact that pulls me so much toward his work, he was one of the first of his kind and cutting edge!, sketching and then painting from life, mostly outside in the surroundings he was painting.

The simple truth is that he was and still is very cutting edge when it come to his abilities to capture people in the landscape, if it were not for the fact he did so and produced so much work, little memory would remain of the places and people he captured.

    The Stour 27 September 1810

The Stour is one of the first of his painting I ever looked at and I still love this painting very much today, I love the loose use of the oil paint and brush work, the limited palette of colours but above all the atmosphere he has captured.

Its also painted in the format I love the most, at 23×23 a Square format. Its not easy to compose an image in a square! but I feel that the results can produces a great painting or photo with great concentration on the subjects you want to capture the most.

Painted Between 1808 and 1816 – the year of his marriage to Maria Bicknell – Constable spent most of his summers at East Bergholt, sketching in the fields and the surrounding countryside. From 1810 he began to paint images of the River Stour, and the activities associated with it, particularly in the area near his father’s mill at Flatford. Indeed, the bulk of his subjects during the first half of his career are images of Suffolk. Many of these are rapidly executed, evocative sketches, painted entirely, or substantially in the open air – often depicting transient atmospheric effects.

Constable painted this view outdoors in the vicinity of Flatford Lock at sunset. He cut his canvas to fit into the paint box he carried, and pinned it to the opened lid while painting.

The landscape around the Stour Valley and Dedham Vale had been admired by poets and artists before Constable (Tate 1991, pp. 53–54), but he made the area particularly his own by painting it over and over again. Constable wrote in later years: ‘I associate my “careless boyhood” to all that lies on the banks of the Stour. They made me a painter (& I am gratefull)‘ (Beckett VI, p. 78).


The Angel – A poem by William Blake

A September Sunrise, County Kilkenny
Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

poet William Blake
#11 on top 500 poets

The Angel – Poem by William Blake

I dreamt a dream! What can it mean?
And that I was a maiden Queen
Guarded by an Angel mild:
Witless woe was ne’er beguiled!

And I wept both night and day,
And he wiped my tears away;
And I wept both day and night,
And hid from him my heart’s delight.

So he took his wings, and fled;
Then the morn blushed rosy red.
I dried my tears, and armed my fears
With ten-thousand shields and spears.

Soon my Angel came again;
I was armed, he came in vain;
For the time of youth was fled,
And grey hairs were on my head.

William Blake


TTOPOLOGY – Dennis McNulty, at the Carlow Visual arts center – OMG I am so confused about Contemporary art ?

This afternoon I took sometime off and visited the County Carlow , Center for Visual arts, having read a description of an exhibition by the Contemporary artist Dennis McNulty LINK HERE!.

Its about a month since I last visited this Gallery, when I did I came away as so often just a little confused as to just what I had witnessed? the work consisted of a single image of a sunset that did not change for 30mins (maybe the video was frozen?) to the sound of bird song in the background!

The latest Exhibition By Dennis McNulty I am afraid to say just left me with the same head scratching feeling, it was described as follows

Dennis McNulty
TTOPOLOGY
03 February – 20 May
TTOPOLOGY, an exhibition of new and retrospective works by Dennis McNulty considers the technologies and systems that have been developed, cast aside, or revised in order to advance our human potential. Coupling technology and art, McNulty explores the fields of science, engineering, built environment, retro technologies and future possibilities. See this link for more details ……

——-

All my life I have been a lover of art , a viewer of many forms of artistic expression, open minded and well able so soak in new ideas – yet I feel it must be many years since a visit to an art exhibition from a currently working artist has produced anything other than a feeling of massive disappointment and total confusion as to the state of modern art.

Personally I feel the time has come for me to stop looking deeper and doing my very best to find that small percentage of good – within the work I take the time to go and see!

I feel its time that the art loving public as a whole start to make it very clear that we are getting sick and a little drawn out with looking at exhibitions that we are just meant to get or at the very least in some way forgive the artist for because at the end of the day, well they art artists aren’t they! and they get something we don’t?.

Fact is however Most people who walk away from a modern art exhibition these days do so with nothing other than confusion if not a little anger, because basically they feel cheated, let down and taken for fools!

I have felt for a long time that currently working modern artists have no interest what so ever in what the viewers of their work think, In fact I wonder just who they are producing their work for? it cannot be for the 99% of the public! I don’t feel that its acceptable any longer to just act as if its the responsibility of the viewing public to get on board or just be dismissed because they don’t get what is at the end of the day trashy, Lazy and ill conceived work!

From my basic understanding of formal art study, artists spend four to five years in an art school taking a degree of some form. During this period the work they produce can be of many kinds and make use of many forms of artistic media, this type of work by itself should not and does not need to be presentable to the public. At the end of each academic year there is usually an end of year show building up-to the final degree show held as a presentation of the students work put forward as their final degree submission.

When you understand these levels that go into passing an art degree, maybe just maybe you can start to understand the kind of work your looking at in some current art exhibitions!

There is also another factor that the viewing art minded public needs to understand and that is that many art tutors in art school are required to hold their own exhibitions each year so that they can show that they are at the very least practicing artists and not just a teacher. Still however these artists work relates in form very closely to the kind of experimental work produced during art school study , basically because these tutors are the very people who are judging their students work!

So here are some questions !

Is the art work that most of the public views in public galleries these days, no more than art school/student level and experimental level work and not the work of professional artists would have not only passed an art course of some kind but also spent many years building on their art study to become a professional artist and with an understanding of the real world?

If this is the case, then would it be fair to say that the confusion around modern art is that we are just not being told about the level at which the artists involved in some if not most of the exhibitions we see, site in their level and progression of work ?

My own feelings are that, the current type of modern art works that I view in most of the exhibitions I take time to go and see, is for me personally for whatever reason basically lazy, fuzzy, repetitive and unacceptable ( well under worked, not over worked for sure!) IMO!. I feel that Modern art finds itself in a position where it is being produced for other reasons than for my pleasure as a viewer of it! I also wonder if the formal art world is not just feading on itself until there is basically nothing left and the bottle is empty!

Will I keep going to art exhibitions, Hell yes! just in the hope that one day I get to see something that I truly do understand and end up walking out of the door once again with a smile on my face !

If Dennis McNulty ever reads this post, not likely ! I have respect that your putting your work out there , its just not for ME!!!

Gallery of an exhibition.


Great Poems : Solitude a Poem By – Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Irish landscapes
Solitude
Nigel Borrington

Solitude
By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air;
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go;
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all,—
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a large and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

A look at : Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Her most popular poem, Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s “Solitude” is about the relationship between the individual and the outside world. The poem is built on a series of contrasting conditions: “Laugh, and the world laughs with you;/Weep and you weep alone.” At first, the words may seem like a guide advising the reader to maintain a positive attitude. It becomes clear, however, that the poem is more complex than that, operating as a road map for the difficult realities of life. At the core of Wilcox’s philosophy is a belief that we all exist in a state of solitude. Wilcox wrote this poem after encountering a grieving woman on her way to Madison, Wisconsin. Despite her efforts, Wilcox was not able to comfort the woman over her loss. Distraught, Wilcox returned to her hotel and after looking at her own lonely face in the mirror, began to write this poem. The context of the poem suggests that what follows is not a parade of moral platitudes but a series of choices. If you laugh, sing, rejoice, or feast, the world will be drawn to you. If you weep, sigh, fast, or grieve, the world will abandon you. After all, in the end, “one by one we must all file on.” The poem is neither an anthem of positive thinking nor a dour account of existential loneliness. It is an invitation to move through the world with practicality and self-reliance.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox (November 5, 1850 – October 30, 1919)

More on Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Here I Am Still Breathing ! A Poem For The Brokenhearted by : Andrew Voigt

Top Withens
Also known as Top Withins is a ruined farmhouse near Haworth, West Yorkshire,
This farmhouse is associated with “Wuthering Heights”, the Earnshaw home in Emily Brontë’s novel
Nigel Borrington

I felt this poem by Andrew Voigt matched this great location on the yorkshire moors very well !

Here I Am Still Breathing

A Poem For The Brokenhearted

The night is dark and I’m alone
Searching for a place called home
Silence rings within my ears
Fear and pain flood my tears

Hope feels far, isolation nears
What if God isn’t really there?
Well, maybe I simply fail at dreams
A hollow chord with broken strings

Stars go black, night turns grey
Light is gone, far from day
Will the sun rise once again?
A distant dream, a long-lost friend?

Maybe I simply can’t understand
A single word of this master plan
It hurts like hell, my spirit screams
Life in the land of broken dreams

I sit back down to concentrate
Reminded of the things I hate
Depression, fear, regrets of time
Desiring just to press rewind

Yet, here I am still breathing
This heartbeat song unending
This life is still worth living
This life is still worth living

I pick myself up off the floor
Remnants of the mask I’ve worn
Face the mirror while it stares back
Accepting all the things I lack

Reflections often mirror shame
Yet, tonight they simply aren’t the same
Within the tears upon my face
A light reflects in a darkened space

Could it be the day awakes?
The winter gone, new hopes to chase?
Well, maybe I’m just seeing things
Like a blind man lost in the midnight sea

But what if hope still remains?
And what if love is not in vain?
Could there be a God of love?
Who walked this earth and gave his blood?

My head is spinning within these thoughts
Could God really care for souls so lost?
We turned our backs and swore His name
Yet, still He loves us in our shame

Yes, here I am still breathing
This heartbeat song unending
This life is still worth living
This life is still worth living

Andrew Voigt

Andrew Voigt is a writer and blogger discussing thoughts on God, dreams, and brokenness. He has served as a contributing writer for publications such as Patheos, Fathom Magazine, and Kingdom Spark. Andrew holds a B.S. in Communication Studies from Liberty University and lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife and orange cat named Pumpkin.