Saturday, November 28, 2015
Monday, November 9, 2015
Sidi Ifni, roofs, oil on card, 12.2 x 15.5 cm
A view from the Necropolis, Glasgow, oil on card, 13 x 18 cm
Both my submissions to the Annual Open were accepted.
Last year my submissions were rejected, and in the year previous to that accepted. I cannot for the life of me find any logic behind their acceptance or rejection.
It is nice, nonetheless, to be an (albeit tiny) part of the Scottish art world this December.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Monday, November 2, 2015
This year's New York set
The trip resolved the desire to really know New York. There remain swathes which remain unknown to me, whole boroughs, indeed: the Bronx and Staten Island remain mysteries. And I have never explored the city in Winter. I also regret not having worked in Chinatown, which is very striking, visually. But you cannot do everything.
For painting,New York good. The colours are beautiful- splendid reds, ochres, grays and olive greens- (seemingly the basis of Williamsburg's exquisite range of oils). The people are easy to understand, individualistic and bold. No-one bothered me while working and most people are courteous. The city has few hills, alas, so getting views usually involves scaling buildings. I wish I'd had more access to rooftops.
It may be the capitalist city per excellence, but isn't as materialistic as they might have you believe. No city with such dedication to art (which is still, despite what auction headlines might lead one to assume, based more on passion more than profit) can be said to be materialistic. Some of the art is rubbish, for sure. but much is breathtaking,
MoMa disappointed me. It's crowded, like a shopping mall on Christmas Eve. And the galleries are uncomfortable spaces where it's hard to sit down, or relax to study the works. There was a huge survey given to Picasso- an amazing display, but so large as to exhaust the visitor. The garden is . and stony full of mediocre sculptures.
Much more enjoyable were the Brooklyn Museum, which is especially good on American works, and the Neue Gallery, which had an excellent exhibition on inter-war Berlin. Of course the Metropolitan is glorious. And The Studio Museum in Harlem had a fine show of paintings by Stanley Whitney.
The day long peek at the world inside the USA, which I gained at Cold Springs has made me think that it might be time to revive the New York Road trip idea.
I shall attempt to re-visit Valparaiso in February for about ten days.
I am grateful as ever to the friendliness and courtesy of passing strangers, who were very often Black and old.
I thank the philosopher J. Heald for his amusing company in Williamsburg, and for helping me lug the easel about.
I also acknowledge the helpful presence of Lancastrian W.J. Eccleston who, for mysterious reasons, seemed to accompany me in thoughts as I wandered in the Big Apple.
Sunday, November 1, 2015
Arch, Washington Square (detail)
East Broadway and Clinton Street, East Village, Manhattan, oil on card, 18.5 x 16 cm
This picture (above) is a sort of tribute to that red which in New York is ubiquitous and which is so utterly glorious. The dark red has various shades from a certain dusty pink over to scarlet and then to a deep maroon.
Playing fields, Central Park, Manhattan, oil on card, 16 x 17 cm
Arch,Washington Square, New York, oil on card, 17 x 14 cm SOLD
Central Park, Manhattan, oil on card, 15.5 x 17 cm
Clinton Street, oil on card, 18.5 x 18 cm
I found Leonard Cohen's old street, and worked there. There isn't that much that remains, just one block is in an old style. The rest has been given over to recent housing estates.
A toy boat on a Conservatory Water, Central Park, oil on card, 16 x 18 cm
Toy Yacht, Central park, oil on card, 20.5 x 19
A tiny peep from New York into a vast world beyond, taking the Hudson train up. Amazing natural abundance, pretty towns. An invitation, and a reminder of how how claustrophobic life in New York might become.
Toy Yacht, Central park: detail
Saturday, October 31, 2015
Pier, Coney Island, oil on card, 15 x 18 cm
Woman with a pram, Coney Island, oil on card, 17 x 18 cm
Coney Island, Nathan's, oil on card, 15 x 18 cm
I got the trains down to Coney Island, an exhausting experience, as it seemd extremely easy for me to to take the wrong train on new York's subway system.
The painting there went well, the day warm and gilded with sunshine, and that warm melancholy I feel you feel on such days when it is nice and there's nothing to fight for.
Coney island seemed lrsz tragic this time than I rermember two years ago
Friday, October 30, 2015
Three weeks in New York: 3. Brooklyn / Down by the river/ and Brooklyn Bridge / Green Wood Cemetery / Williamsburg
There was first the ferry boat moving softly from the Jersey shore at dawn- the moment crystallized into my first symbol of New York.
Well, this isnt the ferryboat coming from New Jersey, More likely it's coming from Governor's Island, and it isn't dawn, but about noon. But surely any excuse justifies quoting Fitzgerald: does any writer better capture the feeling of arrival in New York? Let's have a bit more: here he is again, in The Great Gatsby:
I began to like New York, the racy, adventurous feel of it at night and the satisfaction that the constant flicker of men and women and machines gives to the restless eye. I like to walk up Fifth Avenue and pick out romantic women from the crowd and imagine that in a few minutes I was going to enter their lives, and no one would ever know or disapprove. Sometimes, in my mind, I followed them to their apartments on the corners of hidden streets, and they turned and smiled back at me before they faded through a door into warm darkness. At the enchanted metropolitan twilight I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others—poor young clerks who loitered in front of windows waiting until it was time for a solitary restaurant dinner—young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.
Ferry crossing to New York, Ferry crossing to New York
Brooklyn Bridge, oil on card, 13.5 x 17.5 cm
Green Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, a view, oil on card, 16 x 18 cm
This, above, is one of those that I feel has the necesary je ne sai quois, to make it stand out from the rest- a certain liveliness that suggests the pleasure of its making. It was indeed pleasant sitting there on the hill in the cemetery, which is extremely well maintained. One is greeted by a very friendly guide. But the views were less dramatic than Id hoped. And then the rain..
The picture (below) seems to me, to suffer from a certain lazy Japoinaiserie:
From Green Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, oil on card, 13.5 x 18.8 cm
View of the East River from Williamsburg, Kent Street, oil on card, 18 x 15 cm
Quite what is this factory on the other side of the East River from Williamsburg?:
View of the East River from Williamsburg, Kent Street -detail
There are fine places to eat there, and it isn't too costly. You feel at home. I did an interior and a couple of pictures of the river but only one came out well. The wind blew like hell.