A weekend in colour
This week I started an online course in colour mixing for watercolour and acrylic painting, so during this weekend I plan to spend as much time as possible learning colour theory.
I worked on the course in the evenings and have already used up a few pages of a new sketchbook, including the pages I have posted here.
I feel that one of the most important things I have learned so far, regardless of the type of paint used (Watercolour or Acrylic) is that I am getting to know them very well, how to mix the basic colours included in a sets of paints and what the results look like. Not all colours act the same even when used without mixing them, some colours produce very smooth results others produce a very grainy texture, some colours don’t seem to go into the paper or canvas very deeply others act more like a dye and the moment they touch a painting surface they stain and fix themselves in very quickly and most likely permanently.
The use of colours
When I first stated painting some years back, I would spend a large amount of time trying to match every single colour in a landscape I was painting, however I feel that since these days I have learnt that doing this is not only exhausting it also does not always produce a good painting. Colours can be used much more effectively when limited and balanced so that they are used to compliment each other. When colour is used to highlight areas in a painting or to soften other areas they can make some parts of a painting stand out and others while still included, fall into the background of the finished work.
It’s all these areas and more that I want to study and regain complete understanding again of both in practice and theory, I can then move onto producing colour sketches and full paintings again.
In order to produces all the colours you want to include in a painting you actually only need three , The primary colours (RED,YELLOW and BLUE), what does counts here however is the type of red, yellow or blue you start with in the first place as this will allow you to produces very different final results.
So this weekend I plan to uses as much paper as possible and produce a colour notebook that I can use during the year to help me when producing any paintings I start working on.
If I get time I will post on my progress but if not, I will on Monday post some results and my thoughts on what I worked on.
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
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!
(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 !!!
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).
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
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.