Monday, March 28, 2011

A portrait of two friends: Ana and Tchaka

Two friends: Ana and Tchaka, oil on card, 14.5 x 15.4 cm

A portrait of two beautiful women who posed most elegantly in their lovely frocks while it rained outside.

I am very happy with all my models: they have all shown great consideration and humour.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Heathland, Lagoa, 4pm

Heathland, Lagoa, 4pm, oil on card, 13.8 x 10 cm

I sat here watching the sky. It's been a long time since I painted here and a lot of things have changed in my life, some of them painful but all ultimately for the better.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Portrait of Tony Alana II

Portrait of Tony Alano II, oil on card, 14.4 x 10 cm

The second of the series: perhaps there will be five in total. Tony is a great sitter, with an expressive body language.

It is delightful to be painting portraits again: the experience is very intense for me, like doing an important exam- you've an hour and a half to get everything right. Working with the same model over a period of time is very enjoyable: every session revealing a different aspect.

Making art without that element of risk is an insipid experience in comparasion. Tomorrow I shall be paiting Lucas again.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Garage forecourt

Garage forecourt, oil on card, 13.5 x 9.8 cm

One of the many garages near here: I wanted really to paint something very simple and clear, but somehow got drawn into depicting that disorder that characterises Brazil's urban landscape.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chevrolet sign

Chevrolet sign, oil on card, 14 x 9.3 cm

Painted on Madre Benevenuto.

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I seem to be getting more responses to my advertisments for models- it's a truism that the year in Brasil really starts after carnival, so hopefully I shall be able to do more figure painting from now on.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The White Ribbon (2009): review: 9/10

As narrated by a schoolteacher, a series of bizzare events occur in a North German village just before The Great War:

The film depicts the life of a village through narrratives folding about several households: that of three prominant village figures- a doctor,  the landowner and the pastor, and that of a family of labourers. These households reveal a patriarchal culture of harsh discipline, hypocrisy, ignorance and unkindness: children are often the victims.

The film is beautiful, with startling images of the villages through the seasons which contrast strangely with the cruel social atmosphere.

Perhaps the film is unbalanced, but the many narratives are comunicated with immense skill and the acting is supurb.

A Village Affair (1995): review: 8/10

A depressed artist and her shallow lawyer husband move to a small village: there they make a aquaintance of a  sexually voracious brunette with very red lipstick, a spoiled young woman and the subject of  much gossip.

Well acted and sensitively made film about relationships and attitudes among the English country bourgesie, described through the prism of the artist's romantic crisis, which intelligently balances melodrama and seriousness.

The Amityville Horror (2005): review: 4/10

An attractive young couple find and purchase an substantial Victorian property for an unually low price, and move their with two children, a blonde boy and girl spawn of the female's previous dallaince. They also bring a dog, which happens to belong to the boy.

There follows a series of harrowing incidents, often involving taps, in which the boyfriend reveals intense dislike of his obese stepson and his dog. The mother, who has become quite anxious, attempts to seek the assistance of a priest, but he proves quite useless and the family reluctantly choose to abandon their dream home and sail off in a speedboat.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Self-portrait on a Tuesday

Self-portrait on a Tuesday, oil on card, 14.2 x 9.5 cm

Well, my week of self-portraiture got annexed by paper cutouts. It's good to change medium, it keeps one fresh. This one has a certain fifties ring to it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Guardians of the Moth- in conference.


They meet at night, in whispers conferring. What are they planning? No wickedness I trust...


Different media allow such different responses in artists- Picasso is perhaps the best example for this- the Picasso of cereamics being a different personality from the Picasso of paint.

Myself, I find that paper cutout, which only really allows mimetic effects through silhouettes, forces a degree of abstraction on me. And the cutting process, so absolute, allows no equivocation: oil paint by contrast can endlessly, hopelessly ponderous.

With cutout, I find myself more engaged with humour and storytelling, and drawn into communion with artists such as Richard Dadd, or Henry Darger and (less nutty) Maurice Sendak. There are some imaginative forces that are only ever released in play, and using a medium like paper cutout which has relatively little historical weight, allows me to play more freely. And the cutouts can be moved about like dolls to make different scentarios. This is, of course, delightful.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Forest of Dreams IV: Guardians of the Moth


The Guardians of the Moth:, above: I concieve a special guard consisting of eight such cutouts (see below).

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Forest of Dreams III: Hallowed be the Glory of Moth




Three more from the Forest of Dreams.

I realise that I revisiting ideas which I attempted to tackle with in The Kingdom of Moth.

Sometimes an idea has to incubate quietly: I'd attempted to do something related to the horror and gamour of moths before, but hadn't felt quite satisfied with the results, which were too cartoonish, overstated in their expressionism. Now the time is ripe capture the glory of moth in the language of Polish peasant cutouts and Art Noveau perversity.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Forest of Dreams II






Two more images frome the series: I am experimenting with black and maroon card.

Quite how much these shapes are really suggestive of a forest, I am not sure. Maybe I need to retitle them.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Forest of Dreams



The Forest of Dreams- three paper cutouts

The first results of a papr cutout project entitled The Forest of Dreams.

The project draws on the gothic, as well as Polish and Japanese traditions, Art Noveau and toy theatre.

It would be delightful to use such pieces as flats on a stage or in a garden, as gates possibly, or to manufacture them as screens.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Forest of Dreams: drawings




Two drawings for a paper cutout sculpture piece which I shall work on over the next few days.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Self-portrait as a cubist

Self-portrait as a cubist, oil on card, 14 x 11.3 cm

The second day of my week of self-portraits. I wish I had more than one mirror for variety.

I am sik.

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I am sik, ballpen on paper, 10 x 10 cm



I am sick: my death is surely imminent: my friend, astonished and deeply concerned visits me. It is a Tragic Moment in History.


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St. Elmos Fire (1985): review: 6.5/10

"The passion burns deep"

Film depicting the transitions made by members of a group of young adults following college as they attempt to settle into their careers and consolidate their romantic lives.

The film features an appalling display of 80s styles, with the women especially ill served  by mullet hair dos and Lady Di blouses. What were they thinking?!

It is mainly entertaining, it's complex plot is very skillfully directed and it probably smuggles in some good sense about relationships, maturity, and care primarily through the aegis of the dowdy, good hearted virgin, Wendy Beamish. But the film is perhaps too squeakilly, preppishly eighties American  to succeed fully today.

Don't Look Now (1973): review: 10/10

Following the death of a child, a couple go to Venice, where they encounter two elderly sisters, one of whom has mystical powers.

The film is an exploration of grief, love, and  the need to believe, or the possibility of believing in the supernatiural.

So well filmed and acted is the piece that we viewers become partners in this exploration. This identification is largely thanks to Julie Christie's excellence, which succeeds in eliciting compassion.

The Open Road (2009): review: 4/10

A baseball player's mother is ill. At her insistance, he goes to find his father- a famous baseball player, drunk and egotist- to bring him to her, taking along an ex-girlfriend for company.

This is a road movie with some beautful scenery, concerning the triangulated relationship of the three. It is well-acted, but laboured and overlong, with Jeff Bridges in particular overplaying his hand.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009): review: 2/10

A journalist decides to pursue a District Attorney, whom he believes has been falsifying evidence to win convictions. He has a personality-free girlfriend whose happens to work for the DA too.

A film that plods helplessly along, failing to entrance at all, featuring implausable characters and zero wit.

It is also lacking in atmosphere and has an annoying glossiness about it.

Solitary Man (2009): review: 5.5/10

An aging lothario and disgraced car dealer visits a university campus with his girlfriends daughter, with whom he has sex, something which causes him no end of bother.

Michael Douglas plays the usual, as do Danny deVito and Susan Sarandon in a piece that, while entirely watchable, does little to suprise.

The reason for this might lie with the moralistic intent of the makers. We are supposed to tut tut, I think, at Douglas's character all the way through: the true dreadfulness of pursuing skirt and all its destructiveness apparantly revealed. But since nothing Douglas does in the movie is really bad, this attitude serves merely to dampen the viewers' delight in seeing a shark gobble its fish.