There’s a long tradition of poetry inspiring art. Finding focus and inspiration early in an art career is challenging. In fact the two needs can lead you into opposite directions. It’s easy to follow whims and do what takes your fancy but the truth is you also need discipline.I find mind through poetry inspiring art. When I began painting professionally I fell into the trap of creating anything that inspired me Which resulted in a confused array of paintings. One week I’d be doing caricatures, the next landscapes. Sometimes abstracts, you get the picture. Eventually I fixed on a medium, watercolour and acrylic ink, but the subject matter still varied. Clarity came when I was “Inspired by a Poem” The title of my local Art group’s exhibition. The first one was based on William Blake‘s Jerusalem, The poem is also a popular hymn.- I’d been playing with buildings and it was one of my first to combine the technique i developed and architecture. It’s loosely based on Times mill, a mill which dominated my childhood walks to school. But with a healthy dose of artistic licence. I’ve played with the mill and the lane by it. It’s called “And did […]
What is an abstract Painting? What do you think of when you hear the word abstract? Does you conjour up images of Jackson Pollock,s drippy or Mark Rothko squares? Or do you imagine something closer to reality? Pablo Picaso’s cubism paintings perhaps? There’s no one size fits all with abstracts. You can have pictures that are just a little abstract. Based on reality, they look like something but they are still abstracts. There has been an attempt to use an existing object, scene or person to begin a process which has resulted in the painting. To splodges of paint, lines or blocks of colour. This is where I’ve settled, architectural abstracts. It suits me. One thing I’ve always found though. The best abstract paintings abide by a set of rules. It may be limiting the colour palette. Or dripping the paint or only using angular shapes. Barbara Hepworth’s sculptures applied the “Less is More” rule. There are many rules you can use. If you want abstracts to work, it’s not a case of just splashing colour on a canvas, throwing things together or carving as you fancy. So take your pick and make your choice. Spending time deciding what is […]
Imagine an Urban Landscape. Do you think of Clean? Probably not. Cities are much cleaner than they used to be but cities and grim go together like pencil and lead. Like many other cities, the clean air act transformed Manchester. As a child I remember lots of very dirty cotton mills. And I mean dirty with black soot. Features hard to determine. Wherever you looked the urban landscape was grim. In fact, I grew up thinking most old buildings in Manchester were made of black stone. That was until they started cleaning them up. After a while I forgot and think my memorywas wrong. I began to question whether things were really that dirty. Then I found this post in the Manchester Evening News which confirms Manchester was a very dirty places. So, when I saw Quarry Bank mill my first thought was… “It’s far too clean!” OK, it is in a rural area but there should be some soot somewhere. So I thought I’d dirty it up a bit. Now, that looks better! Although looking at the photos from the Manchester Evening News, I don’t think it is dirty enough! If you fancy seeing some more urban grim take […]
Mixed Media was once revolutionary Like the Daily Express Building in Manchester, built in the 1930’s, it could have been built today. Even now people are wary of phrase mixed media and aren’t sure what it is. Simple put, watercolour is one medium, oil is another, ink another and so on.Mixed media is when you use two or more together. If you use acrylic paint and oil paint it is mixed media. You can add as many media as you like, even things like metal, threads, wood and other materials. I tend to stop at two or three but there’s no need to. The Daily Express building, above, featured on my daily commute to school. Sitting at the front of the top deck I could see clearly into the windows. Behind the glass, a mass of printing presses running paper at full speed creating the next edition. Hot on the press. I often wish I’d had a camera and taken some photographs. In the days pre-mobile phones the thought of carrying a camera around was the realm of professional photographers. Parents didn’t allow their children to carry expensive items to school on a daily basis. The most technical and expensive […]
Understanding Modern Art is challenging It can leave you wondering what on earth is going on? I have a confession. I’ve always found understanding modern art confusing! There, I’ve said it! First of all, Modern and Contemporary Art are not the same thing. The terms are often confused, but not the same. Modern art is work created from around 1860’s to 1970’s. Contemporary Art is work created after that time. Technically any artist alive and creating today is a Contemporary artist. Their work might be considered more traditional in style,but they are still contemporary artists. There is more to Modern Art than what you see. I always zoned out during art history. I was disinterested. All those names, dates, formal artwork. Maybe it was the teacher or just me? But before mid 19th century, art seemed fusty, I liked the Pre-Raphaelites. Mainly through spending hours at Manchester Art Gallery. Van Gogh was interesting but then the 20th Century stuff was just playing, wasn’t it? All that dripping paint and squares and splodges of colour. But there are rules and theories behind what you see. Cubism is the presentation of more than one side at a time, good abstracts have rules […]
With less than 24 hours to my London debut on The Mall I’m a little nervous… It’s something new, I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s going to be a long day and probably very warm… You get the picture! In these situation I find activity helps. So I’ve been calming my nerves with some abstracts. Working on expression and nothing else is remarkably liberating. Allowing yourself to make mistakes but then finding something new as a result. I’ve said it before “play” is vastly misunderstood and under appreciated. Play is when discoveries are made! Play is the purest form of experimentation. Sure you may then repeat the process to try and reproduce your results. But you would never know what to repeat without playing in the first place! Finally, and most importantly, play is calming. In order to play you must be distracted by something. And if you’re distracted, you’re not worrying. And here’s the result of my playtime. Now, I’m pretty sure I’m doing something tomorrow. What was it?… Oh yes, I remember! So, what do you do to calm your nerves?