Last week I posted a painting of my back fence so I thought this week I would observe record and post the view from the opposite view, my front lounge! Large Version
Not the most exciting views I concur but it’s a glimpse into the world I see and live in. As I spend most of my time starring out of the front window from the comfort of my own home I thought it was appropriate I include the view I spend most of my time looking at.
After finishing this particular drawing I admitted to myself the regret I had missed the opportunity to sketch the views from all of my front rooms I have lived in, which is allot by the way!. I believe on last count its 7 homes in 5 years and have included a diverse range of properties from a council estate, terraced house, 70’s retro house, new build house, city centre apartment, 17th century cottage in the middle of a woods to my current settlement.
Jezzzzz when you write it down like that it looks quiet bad (amount of homes that is) well my mother did tell me that my father was a gypsy when he was younger and moved around with the fairgrounds allot….might explain a few things hey!
Something I should point out is all my drawings that I feature on this art blog are scanned but as some of you might have picked up on its not big enough to capture my A3/A2 drawings. I have to put the picture back together with Photoshop on the computer before posting on this blog. I don’t take photographs of sketches because it doesn’t pick up all the marks I make and dilutes the drawing, in my personal opinion anyway.
By pure accident this process sometimes creates compositions that just work and this is one of them occasions. I have included the drawings on display in zooms 1-4 as I scanned them. See what you think I would be interested to hear what you think of the different crops on display here and if you prefer any of them to the original. A large version of the original sketch can be found here which you may or may not be able to view the seems as I joined the picture together by.
As you observe through life drawing you notice allot you may not have seen before. For example on this particular sketch I never even noticed the amount of wires which kriss cross the entire street and these I believe are our phone lines, the very line I am able to communicate to you the reader of this blog through.
The other stand out feature for me is patterns we as humans seem to establish when we create or build just about anything, we love them! As you can see on this particular zoom the bricks, tiles and windows all have a pattern or to use another word order.
Other details which you may or may not be able to see is the train which is passing by from right to left in the foreground just below the tower block, which I never knew was there until you start to look closely at your familiar environment.
Let me know your thoughts on this sketch and would be good to hear stories of your front views!
Before anyone comments or asks me via email this is not a painting from behind bars :)
Ok this is essentially the view from my back garden and was created the same time as my previous painting ‘Manufactured’ for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. I made the mistake of putting some of my back catalog on my flickr profile page and a few people have emailed to ask why I have not featured this on my blog.
So here it is and I will continue to explain the theory behind this one but before I do better point out this does not work as well on screen as it does large in person. Why not? The composition arrangement of this painting (i.e. the white areas) is to create a steady illusion. If you stand about 2-3 meters from the original and view this at eye level whilst taking a couple of minutes to study this piece you will subtly notice the white lines start to disappear and you can see the painting beneath as a whole. It’s an old visual illusion trick but the brain works hard to fill in the missing information so you are effectively painting the missing information, as the spectator, with your own eyes.
I encourage you to view the large version of this on my flickr page and see if it works for you, have to say tried it myself and it still works (sort of) but It not as intense if I’m honest. You will notice two versions of the painting on my flickr page one to give you the opportunity to test the illusion the other is the final artwork framed which now sits opposite on my wall from the original landscape I recorded it from.
Ok back to the creative journey. I’m sad to say I am unable to find the original drawings I recorded for this painting and after spending 2 consecutive nights (hence the delay of my weekly post) tipping my house upside down have not been able to find them :( As repeat visitors to this blog are aware I like to document the whole process from start to finish as I feel it brings the audience closer to each painting or creation shall we say.
The inspiration behind this art work as the name suggest in my back garden fence. The initial spark originated from washing up looking out of the kitchen window up the steep hill my garden sits onto the back fence. It was very early morning, better confess it was last nights tea I was cleaning up, and as the sun rise it caught my attention the way light had begun to pour through the slats or to use a simpler word gaps in the fence. As the sky started to fill up with colour the view beyond the man made obstruction had started to display it s beautiful landscape into my dark garden.
Now I know not many artist will claim to have been inspired whilst washing up but many of the people who know me off-line have commented furiously at times for my tendency to drift off into a trance and this was one of them moments.
I got up the next morning in the anticipation of a recurrence this same event would present it self to me and allow me to record this colorful observation. Wrong!!! What I got was lots of rain, stormy clouds and a very dark landscape almost unrecognizable to view anything through the dark void….but then something happened a figure in a bright luminous work jacket continued to walk past my blank canvas and I scribbled this down. The kitchen light must of caused his jacket to reflect as it looked amazing this yellow strobe effect as he continued to progress from left to right. As all things in life you start off doing one thing and end up with a completely different destination, makes it interesting though!
Over a few different days I recorded studies (drawings) and the same figure or man walked his dog everyday around the same time (6:30ish annoyingly!) allowing me to capture his presence. For the final painting I thought I would recreate the original sky as close as technically possible from memory inline with the original spark but to also insert the character I had observed. As it happens I think the two works together quite well, could even argue the figure makes the painting. I often think to myself if the guy was to look through the gaps in the fence he might see the painting and himself…ha…how mad would that be as well as disturbing thinking about that man looking through my fence..hmmm….maybe not!
The sky above was painted to guide your eyes from left to right which in effect or should make your eye’s fill in the gaps as it scans across horizontally, bit like how animation works. The large gaps do exist in real life but this feature helps the eye movement stop and start allowing the information to feed in.
For those of you interested how I created this effect technically…simple I used masking film (matt) and painted the picture as whole before lifting the mask carfully off. I have to say as I removed the mask my heart was in my mouth because where the paint was thick it was extremely difficult to lift the mask without taking the paint coated on the canvas paper with it, yikkeees!!! It actually took me 3 nights to lift the mask off with out any damage to the actual painting surface, wont be using this technique again!
By Accident and some of you may disagree with this but it could also work on a conceptual level: i.e. we are all busy concentrating on what is directly in front of us to notice what is happening beyond this distraction but that is getting deep and those of you familiar with my last post know I should steer clear of this thought process, especially on a Fridays.
After all this it still didn’t get into the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and even worse my Gran didn’t like it!…all well it looks good on my wall. As always I would be interested to hear if the illusion worked for you and what you think of the work in general.
Ok if you reaction is similar to my family, friends, work colleagues and the framers then you are probably thinking what the hell is going on here…Let’s just say my Gran (95) was not impressed with this painting :)
I better proceed and explain the journey and how I arrived at this painting me thinks!
Towards the start of the year I decided I would enter this years ‘Summer Exhibition’ at the Royal Academy in London. This is an annual international competition which is open to professional, amateur and practically anybody who wishes to submit a piece of work (at a cost of £25 per creation mind! Least I’m contributing to this countries art collection I guess). Each year in January the Academy releases a word or subject matter which artists can choose to submit work based around. There are various rules, frames, labels, transportation and so on but essentially a panel of judges select from over 11,000 entries which work is to be hung in the gallery that summer. This year’s word was ‘Man Made’.
As always I intend to describe my personal journey for each observation and in this case better explain why we have some naked skin suits here! Time to dive deeper (warning!).
You will notice from previous post on this blog I have this annoying habit of flickering in between the physical (actual) world I record and the one I interpret from. To expand on this I believe its part of my remit as a visual observer to document the under currents or the subtle movements we may or may not be aware of, or in fact heading towards.
As we all float down the ‘river of life’ (apologies for the cheese here) we are all very busy and occupied just keeping afloat, avoiding obstacles even just navigating round the unexpected bends to notice what is really happening beneath us. In keeping with this admittedly pretentious analogy theme I like to look beneath the surface and observe what I see and it tends to mean the tempo is a little faster or to translate this gibberish predict the shape of things to come further down the path.
What’s this got to do with the skin suits I hear you all screaming now, well I have a personal fascination with the human image throughout our art heritage and human history documentation. This influence has leaded, in particular, for me to visualise our intervention (Man Made) in our species evolution and to magnify the consequences of these actions for others to peek into.
I do accept this painting is not to every bodies taste and by the way it did not get selected for the Royal Academies Summer Exhibition, surprisingly. But I have merely painted what I saw and it was not intended to be provocative as some spectators have commented on, although I except it can come across this way.
I think it’s safe to say it won’t be hanging on my Grans wall anytime in the near future but keeping true to my own personal philosophy I observe then record what and how I see it. I would of coarse be interested to hear your thoughts on this admittedly bizarre creation and what your take on it is as a spectator.
P.S. Did you notice I removed the hair from the final painting, it just didn’t look right :)
Inspired from my study of King’s Cross (Scroll down) I thought I would draw something from life which is the complete opposite. It doesn’t get any further away from the chaos of the city than from the middle of the Yorkshire dales (North England) early in the morning.
My journey started at 6:30 in the morning, on with the warm clothes, a sketch pad and my trusted biro pen. Whilst I’m on the subject of Biro a couple of people have asked why I use Biro and not pencil or professional pen and ink, simple I like the casualness of the medium and I tend to find when I use pencils I spend most of my time erasing rather than drawing. Using a Biro every mark has to be confident and relevant to the recording of the end image. It makes me a better and faster observer I find and I like the contrast and amount of grade (tonal depth) I can achieve.
Anyway back to the journey I got in my car and drove into the middle of the dales from Leeds, I pass Skipton “the gateway to the dales” and up into the rolling hills passing through numerous mini villages until I arrive at my destination Kilnsey (hour and half later). Park in the pub car park which I’ve forgotten the name of now and ask the Land lady if I can sit in the beautiful situated beer garden towards the side of the Pub/Hotel. As I finish explaining my mornings work, the land lady takes great pleasure in taking me on a tour of the Hotels various paitings of the famous landmark I’m about to embark on myself. The best of the lot was a 10ft by 12ft (approx) of the rock face emerging from what looks like a misty monring scene. Beatifully painted but has the look of a painting from photo, but I could be wrong. I order my coffee as I dont want to be too cheeky and the land lady lets me know I can fill up anytime I want, which is a good job as the morning cold was biting my blue numb fingers.
You can see from this close up I have used different marks for diverse range of surfaces, this is for my future reference when I come to paint this rock beast. From the information I have recorded here I can tell the different grass length’s, the organic or living matter such as the trees, bushes etc and the arrangements of the rocks which slant slightly. I hope that makes sense?.
To view a large version of this sketch or study I encourage you to visit the large version on my flickr page.
A good tip why I encourage other artist not to paint from photos is the chance of missing something. A photo or a series of images with today’s technology can take a couple of minutes or an hour if your a professional maybe. What I witnessed over a period of 3 hours can not be captured via a lens including a video recorder. The eye is a great receiver of light and as the grey morning turned into blue skies and low autumn sunshine the cliff face which I presume is limestone started to glow. The autumn colours contrasting against the glowing rock-face is an experience I can now build into the final painting. If I had taken the photo in the morning I would have missed this event but even if I was there at the right moment the lens fails to capture the brightness. Some of you I know will disagree with this comment but it is my intention to paint the final piece including the transition from subdue to vibrent colours. How am I going to do that well thats for me to worry about (ermm figure out).
I thought some of you reading this blog might be interested in seeing where in the world I recorded my personal observation. As you can see from these satellite images it is in the middle of no where. I travelled far to capture this experience and encourage people, who can that is, to visit paintings you admire in person…to relive an experience an artist has left behind. There are plenty of photos on the web of the iconic landmark I have captured but human eyes tend to capture the sense of an environment the lens cannot. Looking at paintings is like looking at the world through another human eye’s or viewpoint. Should point out, although I sound very anti photo in this post I’m not, it is very useful for capturing large amounts of life expereinces through a lens that no painter could possible record in a life time.
The dark snake like line running from top to bottom is the river wharf which runs right through the Yorkshire Dales, I have to say on this occasion it was very high due to large amounts of rainfall and it sounded very close and loud.
I would be interested to know if you like this sketch or not? or even viewed this rock face in person? I would also be interested to hear if you like this location satellite feature? sometimes what seems a good idea on paper turns out to be annoying in reality. The idea behind it is to help people visiting this blog glimpse the wild environment around the observation, let me know your thoughts?
Keeping true to my word I will stick the progress of my paintings on this blog (scroll further down to see the previous post on this painting). I had time last night, or shall we say a spare hour to tackle the road side on this particular painting. Its worth me pointing out I will not start another painting until I have completed this piece, its all about focus my art tutors used to drum into me at Art College (they did have a point though as my problem was and still is too many ideas floating about up there).
I will sketch allot of ideas floating about my head or go out in to the world to make studies but I will not even think about starting another painting until this one has been completed to my personal satisfaction.
From this update to my painting in Miami you will notice the road has allot more depth to it and more variation in tone. It still has along way to go but I have added the tyre marks to bring the viewer gaze into the painting conceptual point (where I want your eyes to focus on basically).
If we look closely at the road which I painted last night we can see the brush strokes used to create the tyre marks. I have intentionally put a tyre mark which is at a curve this is a deliberate and awkward brush stroke but the objective is to draw the spectator’s eye focus up into the painting where the figures are stood which should then carry your eye line across to the painter at the far left. The yellow lines and block need painting and the shadows finishing but I am happy with the progress, the painting depth is starting to emerge in my opinion.
I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the progress update and it’s direction.
A close up of the second sketch I did whilst visiting London (King Cross Train station) last week. The original sketch below was recorded in the evening rush hour.
There is a distinct difference between the morning and evening peak times. I observed a sense of auto pilot in the morning, almost robot like, as everyone bobs up and down leaving the train towards the city. I thought this would make a striking painting at first and decided I would get back to the train station early that evening to record what I had witnessed…problem was it was a now a very different scenario I was presented with.
Allot more life, urgency and chaos unfolded in the train station, more people bumping into each other, people weaving in and out of the crowd. You will notice in the second drawing I have tried to introduce this into the composition and I will be experimenting with this when I get round to painting the final concept.
I redrew my original study last night, I removed the arrivals and destination board as it complicates the composition and I like the image without this distraction. I guess the final painting will leave the viewer asking what are they looking at unless you know the story behind it of coarse.
It was quiet difficult to draw from life on this study by the time I looked up to record my next set of marks the crowd had evolved again, different people, different life’s, different destinations and different journeys. It’s my intention to develop this image further and will probaly experiment with acrylic on canvas paper before tackling the final painting.
I always draw from life where possible…why you ask? it adds a sense of depth and time to a picture, when we draw from photographs or other media paintings or studies tend to look lifeless or a little static, especially when the subject matter is constantly moving.
I recently attended a wedding, as you do I’m sat in the church in Lincolnshire, which is around middle England, waiting for the bride to arrive. Out walks what I thought was a priest with trendy looking shades which demanded my attention as the light reflected from the sunlight seeping into the church. It was a very iconic image and I instantly recognised the potential this would make as a painting.
It was subsequently pointed out to me the priest was in fact blind, not a funky god preacher, nor was he a priest….he was in fact one of the choir singers…nerveless I had absorbed that initial iconic image and I was going to record it. Of course I added the ‘smoking stick’ as it added a sense of rebellion and made my idea complete.
I intend to create the final painting in due coarse and encourage you to sign up to my updates, top right of navigation, if you would like to know when I have published the final painting or just keep track of my latest observations.