Saturday, February 20, 2010

Notes from an easel part 71

I went with my original instinct, and decided to deviate from the dense green cloud of the original comp, by painting a simple cream impasto for the background.
The sense being that this represents a kind of rebirth, as well as making the image more prominent.
Its odd how much more contemporaneous the locale feels with this minimal approach. I generally resist such artistic candor, because as I've said in the past, melding both the figurative and the abstract, feels like fence sitting to me-like illustrative spatter as a sidecar embellishment for the sake of modernity, it has no resonance other than for trad cool, but on the evidence of this piece, its something I want to explore more of with future works.

Tonight is Mosaic again, where I have two pieces as part of the ongoing collection. Rich Walker and Sanford Wolcott are featured, alongside the usual suspects such as Mark Jesinoski. Hope to see a few familiar faces as well as some new ones.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Notes from an Easel-part 70

The paint flowed with ease tonight-oil heady in my nostrils again-autopilot style with Elbow on loop. We all need an escape from the rage of daily existence, and I never feel more at home than when I am paint spattered and high on wine and turpentine.

Talking of sanctuary in dark places, I also discovered that my work is featured on the site
Eye Want Your skull, which is a really wonderful online resource for the best in skull inspired art.I am well chuffed.

The world may be going to hell, but sequestered in the uterine bubble of my studio, I could paint with the flames lapping at my heels.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Head Candy for a Valentine hangover

February is looking a little thin on the blog front-it was the same last year, but I think I was stuck up the arse end of feeling sorry for myself, whereas this year I am too busy to know my arse from my elbow.
Tomorrow is a return to regular painting duties, I have several canvases awaiting assault, in time for my show at Thumbprint this oncoming March (pun intended), which I shall be featuring alongside artist Jerrell Connor.

I also have the Peter J Carroll book which I need to continue illustrating, so my calender is full even if my blog for February isn't.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Notes from an easel-part 69

Title: Bring me the head of Leonardo da Vinci
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 11" x 14"

Some weeks back, I read with wry amusement, that a group of scientists hoped to excavate the skull of da Vinci, in an attempt to recreate his features, thereby proving the theory that Mona Lisa, was in fact a portrait of the master in drag.
With over five hundred years since his demise, I could give a toss about the whole sacrilege of the act, and I shalln't even venture into the fact that with world economy's tanking, the money that will go into the exercise would serve better say, in finding a cure for cancer. I do however find it galling that so much energy should be devoted to a work whose only enigma to my mind, is that it ever came to such hyperbolic prominence in the first place.

The piece took me around three and a half hours in all-a new record for me I think, and one which should justify the low price tag.

Sadly, last night, I took the show down from Mosaic. The good news is that for anyone who missed that show, two pieces shall be on permanent display as part of their continuing collection,which means I shall be attending their opening night again next weekend. I also have another featured show next month at a gallery called Thumbprint on March 13th-which is a month from today. They've asked me to design the flyer,so I'll post more details soon.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Head Candy-Sacred Ground

It could be the voice of the twelve year old protagonist-Oskar-in the book I'm reading-'Let the Right One in' by John Ajvide Lindqvist, but I've been recalling a place from my childhood today.

In the early 1980's we were living in Anfield, Liverpool in a little three bedroom redbrick terrace which overlooked the Chinese quarter of the vast cemetery there. At the end of the street sat a sandstone bridge, over which ran a railway nestled behind hawthorn brush and beech trees, and after scaling the walls, I would spend my days hiding by the tracks in the camouflage the undergrowth afforded me, escaping the unraveling of my homelife, and lost in my imagination.

Maybe I thought I was a knight in the little urine smelling Gothic stone turrets,encoding the graffiti and the promise of a good time in the phone numbers lining the blackened walls.

Sometimes I'd discover artifacts in the torn pages of a wank mag in a glade, or if I was lucky, introduce a girl to my secret place in the hopes of stealing a kiss or something more, but at any rate it was mine-a sanctuary away from the persecuted prison of my school and home life, 
and being on that railway bridge held a timeless wonder that seemed like a epicenter to something forgotten and unspoken.

Ten years later, in February 1993 long after I had moved away from my parents home and had kids of my own, the news hit Liverpool with the force of something terrible-remembered but only formerly whispered- the death of a two year old child at the hands of a duo of ten year old boys. Jamie Bulger had been abducted, brutally murdered and dismembered at the same stretch of railway I had escaped to years earlier, by boys Jon Venebles and Robert Thompson.

What had been a place of quiet reflective solitude had become a place of grotesque concealed horror-the playground of my youth became a dark evil enclave of terror, now lost forever in the infamy of some awful dreadful act. In that realization I understood absolutely, the horror of where I had lived, and of what it is to be a child in a place without hope. Whenever I visit my childhood home today, and pass beneath that bridge on Walton Road, the imprinted horror of that geography is seered into my mind.

Of course, my frame of reference had been on an entirely different trajectory in time, a whole decade earlier in fact-eons in the slow unraveling of cruel fate-but the ghost of those future horrors infringed on the memory of what had been sacred ground, burgeoning me with the notion that the specter of something terrible sits forever on the periphery waiting to reveal itself. No place seemed safe after that, and perhaps I am realizing that in the hollow sockets of all those deaths heads that I paint, there is a trace of that revelation.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Notes from an Easel-part 69

The scaled up 'Life after death' was losing something in the spontaneity of the original, so I erased it, and started fresh.
Using only the original
photos and drawings for reference, as opposed to the finished comp, it felt like a new work again, and my strokes were much more fluid.
I can see the benefits of comping a work first, but as a point of immediate reference I can't shake the feeling that I am trying to make a copy verbatim, stroke for stroke.

I wonder what other artists who work from preliminaries think? I'd be interested to hear their approach.

Not had much in the way of feedback for the mini documentary yet-I've posted it around all the usual places, but then as Brian Eno said-'talking about art is like dancing about architecture', so perhaps its not really that interesting, and neither am I. I've said it many times before, keeping a blog begs the same question-who gives a toss really, and why should they?
All the same, here I am , and since I've neglected to post the missives from my sketchbook, here are some random strangers caught between lattes at Starbucks or from a bumpy ride on the 41.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

San Diego Art journal-mini documentary featuring David Gough

In between a crushing workload, I sat down with the San Diego Art journal this week,for a filmed interview. Despite the horror of being faced with my mug, I am surprisingly lucid. Great production too, with nice ominous soundtrack.
Thank you John Lidot and Mark Jesinoski.