(Current Studies, by blog description (2015-16)) - Click on each label to see corresponding posts!

Friday, 31 July 2015

This England, - Time in a little gem in the Northern quarters....

Last week I spent a valuable seven days near the borders to research some of the history of the skirmishes between the Scotts, the English, The Normans, the Danes and more latterly, the French... What a land of restless tides it is, both in the sea and on Terra Firma.  It seems there's never been more than a two hundred year period of stability, where at least some territorial dispute arose up and caused a shift in culture and land divisions.

Of course, my real interest is in those "things that were left behind", the theme of my research.  The theme is a truly rich source of artistic endeavour as there is so much to be observed, both physically and culturally, tangible and intangible.

Take for example, the intangible concepts of dialects and accents... In just 20 miles or so, travelling north across a completely (in my own opinion) notional yet national border, you can detect not only a change in accents but potentially a very different dialect set language.  The linguistic legacy left from hundreds of years ago remains within little towns and villages, that are as different and as noticeable to the ear as the native tongues of Welsh and English much further south.  I find this fascinating in our modern global treatment of instant communication.  I am still quite amazed that accents still exist in such rich diversity, especially as there are no  physical borders or barriers between these pockets of populations, and all of them listen to the outside tongues of there neighbours near and far, yet retain their own independent identity.

The borders were a pretty dangerous and lawless area for much of the last two thousand years.  Since the times of the Romans (who tried to draw a line of Hadrian's wall) well to the south of the border country, right up to the unification of England and Scotland and for quite a few years after that.  So much was left behind that gives us clues to learn from and inspire my journey.  Far too much in fact to properly analyse within a blog about my artistic journey, without it becoming a blog on history, - which I will try very hard to refrain from doing!

Anyway, back to earth... Perhaps literally...  The farming communities of the borders have probably remained generally unchanged for hundreds of years.  I was lucky enough to be staying on a working farmstead deep inside the Rede Valley, with a landscape in front of me that probably hasn't changed (save for a few more houses and wind-farms) in centuries.  I couldn't resist trying to capture a sense of my view from my window;

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Paul Cezanne - Another little epiphany for me!

I've spent the last few weeks looking at some of the Modernist Masters, from Picasso, Matisse, Pollock and Worhol, but they all are simply building on the shoulders of the ground-braking work carried out shortly after the Impressionist movement (with the usual suspects of Manet, Monet, Renoir and so on), by the true master considered of this period of the late 19th and early 20th Century, that being Paul Cezanne.

Whilst watching a number of excellent videos of the modern masters, my inquiry particularly in Cezanne and how his legacy affected Picasso, Matisse and all those following him, helped me to realise why he was so incredibly important!

It relates to me directly, right now, in this moment of time as a developing artist myself! -

So far on my journey, just like so many others before me, I have had the notion that the most effective way to truly understand and acquire the skills of not only classical painting, but also modern and I believe, Post-Modernism, is through the first step of learning to draw properly.

Most of my past two years of study at degree level have only re-enforced this notion, hence that is where my attention has been.

I have followed the journey through the first steps of drawing; from the line, the shape, the form and tone to create form through tonality, through lights and dark, the capture of the all important shadows and how light is the critical factor to all art, in how we represent it in order to make a two dimensional image into the illusion of a three dimensional form through modelling.  We do this through the variation of tones and this is particularly obvious in drawing in particular.

What had eluded me until today was what Cezanne was trying to do which was so radical.  I simply hadn't grasped it, but now, today, I think I have!

In essence, what makes him different to everyone else before him is that he was trying to create "FORM" through the use of "COLOUR"...  - Not through light and dark at all!

Within this context, you now begin to realize why he painted the same objects, like Mont Saint Victoire and other motifs so many times and in so many subtly different ways.  It was to try to capture not only the 'mood' (as inspired by the Impressionist movement he was both a part of and on the periphery of), but also, and critically sense of the form of objects, through the choices of colour he used, and not the traditional idea of form through tonality alone.

By painting form through the correct use of colour, makes a massive difference to the much more exaggerated sense of materiality in my opinion.