Thursday, 27 October 2011

Amsterdam Trip

Lots of you will know that I recently went to Amsterdam for a few days - the first time I had been abroad in ages. We did lots of wandering about and I visited the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, both amazing places, despite the Rijksmuseum being mainly closed. Although there were only about 5 rooms open, I still managed to spend at least 3 hours in the place - a large part of this sitting looking at Rembrandt's The Jewish Bride.

There was a portrait of Rembrandt by his pal Jan Lievens linked here which makes him handsomer and squarer jawed than he tends to make himself - although he is a little pop eyed, and does still have the silly hair. Mind you, I have silly hair myself, so I know how hard it can be to control . . .

Also, there was a special exhibition comparing early Degas self portraits with early Rembrandt's. This was truly fascinating - both the paintings and the etchings. Sitting there looking at them I feel I learnt more than I could have from several hours of lectures or teaching. Not least that size is a very important consideration. But most of all it was the treatment of the light and background space. The little painting called Small Beauty, which I entered into the RGI, was painted the weekend I got back!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

RGI 2011

It's that time of year again - the annual RGI (Royal Glasgow Institute) show - this one is the 150th. This little picture (its only 10cm square) has been selected and I am proud as punch. The opening is a week today, when I'll get to see it in situ and get a good gander at everyone else's work - this one is particularly brilliant.

My painting was painted a few weeks ago, after visiting the rijksmuseum for the first time in over 20 years - they had this special exhibition on, comparing Degas's early self portraits with Rembrandt's work. It was a fascinating show and I must have spent at least an hour just sitting staring. There is something incomparable about seeing oil paintings in real life, and the Degas paintings I hadn't seen even in reproduction before. But what mainly fascinated me was how small they were, but how magnetic, and when I got home I really wanted to try and reproduce the effect.

There is something about small that enraptures me and I will be painting at least a few more of these little works. There are few painters in Glasgow that seem to work small which I think is a shame - there does seem to be a real pressure to work big and although that has its own attractions for me I don't think it is the only way to paint and it is not the only way to make a painting worthwhile.

(will now go and get off my soapbox)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

What is a Drawing?

Have entered The Scottish Drawing competition, but am struggling with their definition (gad I hate art speak!) - "Mark making with intent" For the purpose of the competition, a drawing is defined as a representation by means of lines and the arrangement of these lines which determine a particular form. Form being the arrangement of individual shapes and volumes and their relationship depicted in a work of art, whether figurative or abstract as distinct from its subject matter or content. Drawing in any medium is acceptable. (phew!)

The above drawing I decided not to enter, as I felt it was too close to painting, whereas I am entering the drawing from Previous post as well as a more straight forward landscape drawing. Did I make the right decision? I have no idea . . . and will wait and see if I am accepted.

Personally I feel that any work which uses the support as a major element and mainly consists of marks laid down in one layer is a drawing - so I would include the above, and most of my watercolours. They are made with a brush making one mark as I go - so the mark varies in width, but to me it is still a line. Am i nuts? All comments welcome . . .