Saturday, May 29, 2010

If....(1964): review- 10/10

Tightly filmed satire on English Public Schools, whose wonderful acting and witty script saves it from pompousity.

Zabriskie Point (1970): review- 5.5/10

A self-indulgent film that succeeds in capturing much that was wrong with the 60s: brattihness, protests for protest's sake, smugness, slovenliness and selfishness.

The camera-work is often beautiful, and the film mantains its tension thoughout, despite being rather slow, and contains some memorable images.

Angels with Dirty Faces (1938): review- 5/10

Two childhood friends go different ways, one becoming a gangster, the other a priest. Their contrasting visions are illustrated in their interacitons with a gang of city boys.

Cagney is alluring and vicious, and the film is entertaining. But his powerful status as a major crime figure is never effectively described, and it's hard to understand why such a legendary cime figure would chose to live in a slummy boarding house, or associate with petty crooks.

People I Know (2002): review- 6.5/10

The last days of a publicist, played by Al Pacino.

This is an lumbering description of ageing and N.Y. politics which lacks the lightness of touch to really succeed, despite Kim Basinger's charming appearances.

Nonetheless, it's fairly entertaining.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Trees on the heath - Homage to Nick Drake

Trees on the heath- Homage to Nick Drake, Oil on card, 13.5 x 8.2 cm

I was thinking about Nick Drake's song "Fruit Tree", while painting.
Maybe the fact of my being there on the little patch of heathland in Lagoa unconsciously reminded me of Drake who was photographed for his last album, "Pink Moon" on Hampstead Heath, London and who had a flat in Belsize Park, near the heath.

I shall not go to the heath for a while: I feel that I've exhausted it. The seasons don't contrast sufficiently to make frequent visits to the same location creatively fruitful, unlike in the United Kingdom.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A path in the woods; paintings for sale

A path in the woods, oil on card, 10 x 13.1 cm

Today's picture is straight from yesterday's list (no. 4).

I was totally undisturbed while working except by some midges who seem to hang about in a great clusters near these trees. They are very attracted to black clothes for some reason.

I don't think I have been so happy in the last few years as when painting outside. Meetings with others are so often marred by tensions. My increased inability to handle commonplace social tensions and my consequent preference for solitude is the sign of a failure on my part.
Today's picture looks set to be quite popular and I might do another, looking in the opposite direction.


Almost all the pictures on this site are for sale; the prices for these little pictures (labelled "postcards", or "pochades") are about 55US$; postage and packing is an additional 10$.

I can take cheques or direct transfers from UK or Brazillian buyers, or SWIFT payments from other places.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Some trees, Itacorubi; ideas for the days ahead

Some trees, Itacorubi, oil on card, 11 x 11.7 cm

Here are some of painting ideas for the days to come:

1. Barra de Lagoa, the bridge or the boats
2. Still life of boxes, cds and other bright objects
3. Estreito: more views of buildings there
4. Path in the woods (park, Corrego grande)
5. Some of the buildings in the centre of Florianopolis, especially the old bus station
6. Favela construction in Saco dos Limoes
7. The Hercilio Luz Bridge and the road bridge
8. The cds and books here piled up
9. A coat or a coloured shirt hanging up
10. The heath near Lagoa
11. A self portrait
12. The bed
13. The tyre shop, Itacorubi
14. Florianopolis seen from the continent
15 . Nocturne of the entrance to an apartment block
16. Nocturne depicting a white wall and a streetlamp near here.

I'd like it if the next bunch of paintings were brighter and used more primary or secondary colours, instead of the greys which dominated my palette over the last month.

But of course when one arrives at a place it's very often the case that the idea one had is less interesting than something that catches ones eye: I'll always discard the original idea. if that's the case.

I don't much like being watched when I'm working, so if a location turns out to be busy then I'll often go to a side street or more isolated place. This means that I tend to paint places like Estreito or the centre at the weekend when everything is shut.

And if it rain threatens, then I'll chose a covered area to work from.

Estreito, Street

Estreito, Street, 15 x 11 cm, oil on card

I think this week at some point I'll make a still life arrangement of bright boxes and bottles.

This one feels a bit like a Utrillo, an artist whose work must have gone totally out of fashion as there don't appear to be any monographs on him currently in print.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Planet of the Apes (1968): review- 6/10

Enjoyable but rather obvious satire, in which apes dominate a planet.

Il y a longtemps que je t'aime / I've loved you so long (2008): review- 2/10

A murderess returns from prison to live with her sister and become rehabilllitated into French middle-class provincial life.

It features all the cliches of "serious" cinema and is ponderous and dull beyond words.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Flowers, parrots, mess

Flowers, parrots, mess, oil on card, 9 x 8.4 cm  SOLD

Another "colouristic" picture. It's nice to use the oil paint like watercolour letting it play on the surface, transparant. I intend to focus more on making bright little pictures like the one above: I've had my fill of subtle greys for a while.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Garage, Trindade

Garage, Trindade, Oil on card, 9.2 x 8.8 cm

I'd hoped to be using bright colours today but the weather turned out hazy.

I'm using a technique in which paint is removed after application by blotting the card with paper: suggestion being a more forceful tool than statement; something I learnt from the symbolists, and a mentality that seems to be a staple of etching.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pylon, rain

Plylon, rain, oil on card, 11.6 x 9.6 cm

Painted from the car in the heavy rain in Santa Monica.

This picture has a sweetness that I'm wary of. It just came out that way. There is also something about the composition which I find too easily picturesque; hackneyed.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Balcony/ Sacada, Florianopolis; daily painting

Balcony/ Sacada, Florianopolis, oil on card, 10.6 x 13.4

Today's picture is a very Bonnard-ish.

They are supposedly constructing or planting a botanical gardens there, where my view depicts though, apart from a large sign, I have seen nothing to indicate any work taking place there over the last year. These things take forever here. This can be most despiriting.

Now I think of it, the theme of the garden is really central to Bonnard- the oasis or haven, and this theme finds its domestic analogy in his pictures of bathrooms and bathing.

I previously commented ironically on daily painting, as if there were something excssively worthy or laboured about the idea, but I find that I have myself begun to paint daily. Some people might think this takes discipline, but the opposite is true: in daily painting, painting becomes a sort of anchor, and the day feels incomplete or strange if I haven't worked on any pictures. Painting comes to assume some of the ritualistic qualities of church on Sunday- it solves the problem of what to do, thus making one impregnable.

I think now if I were living in the UK, I'd consider attending church on Sundays just for the amusement of it though it would have to be a church where the sermons were extremely brief, as I find them irritating. Actually, I find most aspects of religion, apart from the songs and the architecture, annoy me so I am not sure whether I'd really manage to sustain the habit of churchgoing (even in the Anglican church which is famously- magnificently- open to all-comers; even those who are quite openly just there for the aesthetics).

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Estreito, Miles Davis E.S.P.; grid plans I have loved; disorder

Estreito- shops/ lojas, oil on card, 9.5 x 11.7 cm

I drove across to the continent and worked in Estreito, a district with it's own atmosphere redolent of San Francisco because of the grid plan, and the way the roads undulate, sloping down towards the sea, but with the sense of decay, disorder and chaos that seems so characteristic of Brazil.

It isn't necessarily unpleasant: as I drove I listened to Miles Davis' E.S.P.: modal jazz seems analagous to the grid plan: a simple clear rythmic and harmonic plan underpinning individual solo expolations, and Davis' 1965 lp had a mood very appropriate to the hazy cool day: laid back, percussive.

The shops and street furniture are jammed together chaotically- using colour to compete for attention.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Flowers in a glass, Flickr

Flowers in a glass, oil on card, 10.1 x 10.4 cm  SOLD

The first of a number of little still lives: these have been rather popular, mainly, I think, simply because they contrast with the run of landscapes. If one posts almost daily on Flickr (as I do) then it's probably advisable to vary style and theme to maintain interest.

I've also found that the public takes a great deal more interest if, in some way, the personality of the artist is somehow accessable though the postings- with autobiographical snippets, or images of the artists' home and self.

This, however is not something I wish to to- I simply don't want such an intimate relationship with the public, as such relationships that I have seen seem strange and imbalanced to me, and it strikes me too that they are founded on a false notion of art as primarily an autobiographical tool.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The big green hill; travel sketching; USA trip

The big green hill, oil on card, 11 x 8.5 cm

A heavy day; my mood awful throughout.

Beautiful heathland in Lagoa, under threat of suburbanisation but still a pleasant place to escape- the smell of the damp grass very pleasant and larks and butterflies everywhere.

I thought of Leonard Cohen's words from, "True Love Leaves No Traces," as I worked:

As the mist leaves no scar
On the dark green hill
So my body leaves no traces
On you, and never will
Through windows in the dark
The children come, the children go
Like arrows with no targets,
Like shakles made of snow


A couple of days ago I passed the morning reading through an exhibition catalogue of Edward Lear's watercolours, painted on his travels: I have the idea of doing much the same on my USA trip, which is still in it's embyro stages (any help/ advice gratefully accepted: I'm especially interested in linking up with other painters in the USA, and the possibility of showing work and ideally selling some to help pay for the trip).

What is delightful about Lear is that his work is so closely tied to his experience, and even if conpositionally the pictures are often using the jaded formats of Lorrain or Poussin, it's possible to access his personality through his handling of pencil and wash.

Sketchbook work is often so; I have previously mentioned Ardizzone here, I might also mention Zymunt Turkiewicz's "Montecassino" , a very immediate album of drawings illustrating the Polish fores assault on the german stronghold in Italy (pub. 1944) and the drawing produced by Mervyn Peake as an official War Artist.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Towards the cemetery, Itacorubi

Towards the cemetery, Itacorubi, Oil on card, approx 10 x 12 cm

Very wet here. The computer has broken and our useless internet/phone provider seems incapable of offering even the most scant level of service- we have been without a telephone for most of the last three days. Thus I am sitting in an internet cafe trying to concentrate.

All this has served to show how dependent I am on the internet for both work and pleasure- television here is unwatchably moronic.

I am very happy with recent paintings, however.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

View across the bay from João Paulo

View across the bay from João Paulo , oil on card, 8.6 x 6 cm

This picture is about the size of a credid card. To the left on the far shore can be see the Policia Federal.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

View of Florianopolis from near the cemetery

View of Florianopolis from near the cemetery, oil on card, 12 x 10.6 cm

A somewhat messy picture: I wanted to go to the sea but it was impossible. I shall try to do some nocturnal painting from the car during the week.

I've never painted nocturnes though I've often wanted to. I don't know why painting at night from the car never occurred to me before.