Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Canada and Me . . . (part 1)

Red Onion - 14" x 10" - Watercolour
A few years ago I was invited to take part in an international symposium of artists in Quebec, Canada. At the time I had no idea why I was chosen but have since discovered that it was as a result of some paintings (mostly landscapes) that I had posted on my website. All expenses including travel, hotels and food were paid for by the symposium committee. In return the artists attending were expected to present a display of their paintings and to work on a current painting so that visitors might observe methods and techniques. At the time I was working on a series of still-life studies of fruit and vegetables and I thought that a continuation of this would be ideal for the situation. Normally I work very slowly and watching me in the studio is about as interesting as watching paint dry which is, when you think about it, precisely what the observer is watching. However when I work on a still-life (or any 'live' subject) I work fairly fast. Hence my belief that watching a series of still-lifes being made would be more entertaining than witnessing the slow, drawn out process of painting a landscape from photos and drawings.

Wandering through a market across the road from the symposium in Canada I found two prize winning onions: one red and one white, coincidentally the colours of the Canadian flag - perfect, or so I thought . . .

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Mathematics and Me

Watching - 29cmx25cm - Acrylic on Canvas

At school given the choice between studying maths and daydreaming I always chose the latter not that I was ever given the choice. Even so I always found geometry interesting. Most of my paintings are carefully designed using, in part, mathematical principles. These principles are only half remembered (I was daydreaming) and somewhat embellished by the flights of my daydreams.

When a painting is going well the painting seems to paint itself with the artist acting almost as an intermediary – some people say this is the unconscious mind taking control, others say it is God and some say it's the left side of the brain. Whatever the reason may be, I think of it as a version of daydreaming. Using maths (however imprecise) in the planning stage of a painting makes me feel that at least part of the process comes from me.

Journalist: “Would you describe yourself as a protest singer?”
Bob Dylan: “No, I’m not a protest singer. In the USA I haven’t been called a protest singer since I was a little boy. I sing ordinary mathematical songs.”

(Stockholm, Sweden, 28th April 1966)