Friday, November 30, 2012

Nocturne, Lagoa, November

Nocturne, Lagoa, November, oil on card, 15 / 12 cm

It has been so hot recently that the only thing I can do some aftenoons is sleep. But the evenings are cooler, so more nocturnes are in order.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Safety Not Guaranteed (20120: review 5.5/ 10

Washington State: two interns, one a shy Asian, the other a female with no discernible character, are taken by a more experienced journalist to research a small advertisement calling for applicants who wish to return to the past in a time machine.

It transpires that all the major figures in the film have suffered some sort of traumatic experience: the film is about how they reappraise their pasts and form new relationships.

It is well paced, carefully made, occasionally witty, and somewhat smug, as these American slacker films tend to be.

Skyfall (2012): review: 2/10

A list of M15 Agents has been stolen: the thief is publishing the names online. Bond returns from a failed mission in Istanbul and is charged with stopping further publication of the names on the list.

The film includes scenes in Istanbul, Shanghai, Macao, London and the Scottish Highlands. The scenes in Istanbul are exciting, the others less so.

There is no new car but there are two attractive women, one Turkish the other English: neither reveal a great deal of flesh. I am not sure why not.

 Bond himself is quite good, gaunt and serious.

Sadly, however, at the centre of the film is an old  fat grey clucking hen, known as Judi Dench. The director, who has preachy inclinations, plainly wanted to turn the picture into a serious film: hence he attempts to cover such themes as remorse, aging, Britain's role in the world; additionally, Bond's character is implicitly psycho-analysed as that of a orphan. It is implied that he may have had homosexual experiences too. Also his enjoyment of alchohol is tut-tutted.

All this sententiousness would be intolerable even if the the film were competently written. It isn't, and moreover it misses the point about Bond totally, notably that we love Bond not because he as touchy-feely liberal values, but because he doesn't.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Boats, Lagoa, 11 am

Boats, Lagoa, 11 am, oil on card, 14.5 / 10.5 cm

Painted at near the moorings in Lagoa. One of a number of yacht paintings I've done- an obvious subject, and for good reasons.

 As so often in painting the secret is knowing how much to say and how much to leave unsaid, so the viewers imagination can play,

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Framed pochades



A model posing as a Cezanne

The sea: Praia Mole

Small Pines

The Dunes

Framed pochade

Heath, near Praia Mocambique, oil on card, 13 x 13 cm 2012   SOLD


Small paintings can be especially effective if hung in clusters: The National Gallery, London has a fine room featuring small Danish, French and German nineteenth century painting.

As will be apparent from the reflections, some of the pictures are glazed. It's unusual to glaze oil paintings but it was thought wise as a protective measure in these cases.

The Dunes was framed so that there is a physical space between it and its box frame: an effect good for contemporary styled locations. An elaborate, gilt framing might, contrariwise, emphasise the 19th century stylistic roots of my work, and suit a more traditionally decorated hanging space.

So the frames we use can emphasise one quality or other of the picture, including interprative elements, and allow it to work more or less sympathetically within a space.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pink Flowers: among recent sales

Pink Flowers, oil on card, 10.9 x 7.9 cm  SOLD

This painting, was sold recently with four others. These can be found using the index work below, "sold".

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Urubici: three more


 Urubici: bright sunshine, oil on card, 18 / 13.8 cm   SOLD

 Urubici, bright sunshine, oil on card, 16 / 14.5 cm

More landscapes from my recent trip.


Think Like a Man (2012): review: 5.5 /10

A number of couples are affected by the advice in a best-selling self-help book. The couples are generally black, loud and middle-class, at least in terms of earnings: there seems to be a mismatch between their incomes and and their cultural level.

This slickly made film is enjoyable, if unsurprising.

Ted (2012): review: 7/10

Suburban Massachussetts: a young man finds a lover: his teddy bear companion is jealous.

Enjoyable, energetic comic piece about male friendship featuring gross-out humour, slapstick, sentimentality, farce.

Darling Companion (2012): review: 3/10

Mountainous middle class Colorado: two couples and the daughter of one sand a a missing dog. The search for the dog provides a vehicle for portraying their relationships.

All the characters in this film are tedious, the women especially so (the film might usefully be shown to young men as a warning of the perils of marriage) and the film takes itself very seriously indeed.  There is one promising scene featuring a goat, but alas this leads nowhere interesting.

2 Days in New York (2012): review: 3/10

A French photographer lives in New York with her black journalist and radio presenter boyfriend. Her relatives come to visit. There are various farcical culture clashes.

This is a Wood Allen style picture, but one lacking the necessary generosity: Delpy is more shrill than witty, and though there are occasional good individual set pieces overall the film stumbles.

Ruby Sparks (20120: review: 5/10

A young, celebrated writer is frustrated in finding love and in his craft: one of his characters comes to life.

The film drags because of Dano's horribly mannered acting, his drippy facial expression, and the poor pacing of the plot which at most merits a film of twenty minutes.

Conviction (2010): review: 5.5/10

In Michigen, a working class mother trains to become a lawyer in order to free her brother, whom she believes has been wrongly convicted for murder.

This is a protracted and earnest picture in which Hilary Swank's unusual lips provide the only light relief.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Urubici: four recent paintings


Urubici, boys playing football, oil on card, 14 / 14 cm

Urubici, ploughed field, oil on card, 12 / 13 cm

I spent the last two days in Urubici, in the mountains. I painted eight pictures, I'll show the rest tomorrow.

Something I like about Urubici is the fact that it has a street life, with children playing football or in groups conversing. I like the people who seem unpretentious and industrious, and are a relief form the people of the island who are rather fond of themselves.I also love the smell of woodsmoke drifting down the town's solitary high street, and I love the towns mysterious setting among woods and surrounded by mountains.

And as a painter Urubici is great for having an especially sharp clear light: you occasionally get that in Florianopolis but it's much less common. 

I guess these are the most German Expressionist influenced pictures I've done for a while. I'm playaing about with new methods: working more quickly, but also discarding more, the idea being to mainting a sense of energy within each picture.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Stories of the Street

 The stories of the street, oil on card, 17 / 15 cm  NOT FOR SALE

A man walking in Santa Monica, oil on card, 14 / 13.5 cm

Two new pictures: I stole the title from Leonard Cohen's famous song from his 1967 album, Songs of Leonard Cohen.

The stories of the street are mine
The Spanish voices laugh
The Cadillacs go creeping down
Through the night and the poison gas
I lean from my window sill
In this old hotel I chose.
Yes, one hand on my suicide
And one hand on the rose.

 Cohen's is one of a number of late 60's street songs: there are also good ones by Springsteen and Dylan.

Santa Monica is not really the place, it's much too prim: I want tenement blocks, grandeur, disorder: Harlem, Glasgow, or even parts of Estreito here, where'll I'll soon go to paint similar.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My place

My place, oil on card 18 / 15.5 cm 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Suburb (girl on the bridge)

Suburb (girl on the bridge), oil on card, 12 / 14.5 cm

I see someone has built a rudimentary bridge near here, crossing the drainage canal further up: I shall go and explore another time.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Friendly people

This is a sketch illustrating a pair of sculptures I one day wish to construct. 

The two larger figures are about 15 feet high, and to be constructed from a flat material such as steel, if it can be made rigid enough (perhaps it will be necessary to coonstruct them as a sort of steel sandwich, so that each sculpture would consist of two steel flats, joined by a struts).

The two smaller figures are there for scale, and represent real people. They will be painted in bright colours. The figures are designed to be friendly and welcoming.

Monday, November 5, 2012


A sketch of a sculpture soon to be completed with wires and an old picture frame.

The sculpture is Calderish, and its format  is one which I shall be translating for paintings increasingly. That is, a composition which consists of two or possible three planes, very closely placed in relation to each other, and a highly rhythmic relationship between elements, clearly distinguished in bright colours.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I Melt with You (2011): review: 2.5/10

Middle class male friends reunite in a remote house in California to drink, take drugs and bear hug.

This goes on for a considerable amount of time until something, inevitably, goes wrong.

Pretentious picture relieved only by good British punk music and Californian scenery.

Friday, November 2, 2012

To Rome With Love (2012): review 2/10

The stories of various characters in Rome, including a young architect and his older correspondent, a music producer and and opera singer played by Benigni.

It feels as if Allen made up this film as he went along, trusting to fate or depending on cliche to guide him. The pacing is awful, the jokes sink.  Allen himself is irritating, as is Benigni and one leaves the film grateful for the end.

The film fails to celebrate Rome, or even American presumptions about it, as Allen's previous Parisian film managed to do.

People Like Us (2012): review: 1/10

In California, the father of a self regarding young salesman dies. The salesman meets his father's illegitimate daughter and despite already having an attractive partner, becomes emotionally embroiled in her life, and that of her son.

The film degenerates rapidly into a soap opera format, with contrived melodramatic exchanges. The lead exudes self satisfaction, as if he would really prefer to be in an advertisment for hair shampoo. The others actors are not much different. The plot is preposterous. No one can act, and they are all too good-looking.

Utterly phoney: avoid.

Nackt (Naked) (2002): review: 7.5/10

Three discontented young German couples meet at a dinner party where they engage in a peculiar bet.

Imaginatively shot and fast-scripted film about romantic, sexual, and occasionally financial tensions between young Germans, who treat each other with gratuitous unkindness, behaving with distinct shrillness, in accordance with cultural stereotypes.

The Flock (2007): review: 3.5/ 10

An overenthusiastic probation officer, played by Richard "gerbils" Gere, is joined by a young woman, who is shortly to replace him, They pursue sex offenders with surprisingly eccentric tastes in New Mexico. Manichean, he exceeds his remits.

This is a Silence of the Lambs revisit, with a little dash of Dirty Harry thrown in, but one which lacks the interpersonal tensions necessary to animate it. The narrative is not easy to follow either.