Thursday, June 29, 2017

Central Park, New York


Baseball, Central Park, N. Y., oil on card, 15.5 x 14 cm

 Yellow tree, Central Park, N. Y., oil on card, 15.5 x 14.5 cm

I am very pleased with this one (above) which seems to have a certain freedom about it.

 Bridge, Central Park, N. Y., oil on card, 17 x 17 cm

A boat on pond, Central Park, N. Y., oil on card, 17 x 15 cm

 Trees , Central Park, N. Y., oil on card, 16 x 18 cm

Dog, Central Park, N. Y., oil on card, 16 x 13.5 cm

This is quite a nice set. I relaxed when working and the result is apparent. It's so important to be in a certain frame of mind when working. 

It's a characteristic of dilettantes that they wait for that mood to arrive and do not work towards it from whatever mental set in which they might find themselves. I suppose this is a truism for all jobs that require psychological sensitivity or imagination. Of course there will always be days when things really aren't going to go your way and it's better to give in and go to the cinema, but those days are few proportionally speaking and usually such negative moods can be "worked through".

Nonethless, environment matters: painting when someone is watching you is not helpful or fun. Observation doing any activity will  turn it into a performance, making it much more difficult, even impossible for the subject to follow whatever trains of thought they might have.

With this in mind, I am reconsidering going to Morocco, as the level of nuisance and scrutiny from passersbys there is unpleasant, and doesn't help me at all. Instead I might do further explorations of Scotland.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Chinatown and Two Bridges, New York City


New York: Two Bridges, oil on card, 17 x 17 cm  SOLD

This (above) is one of the best of the New York set-  confident, fresh and clear.

 New York: Red buildings in Two Bridges, oil on card, 17.5 x 17 cm

New York: Allen Street,  oil on card, 18.3 x 16.2 cm

These were painted on two visits to this windy area, the first time merry, the second detestable, full of frustrations as the palettes blew all over the place. I wanted to develop a style which was unfussy, to use the blockiness of New York to become bolder.


New York, conclusions


Arch, Washington Square, June 2017, oil on card, 17 x 18.8 cm

This is rather a jigsaw puzzle painting isn't it? It`s the third  time I've painted this arch.



New York- the complete set from 2017

 The set is strong and simple but I will not probably revisit New York for a few years. I need time to forget New York, so that when I do return it`s qualities surprise me again.


This is my list made before leaving for New York and my reflections-

1. CIMA  (Centre for Italian Modern Art) in Broome Street, Manhattan. De Chirico show and talk. 
This talk in the CIMAs elegant setting was excellent, and provided a chance to discuss and make        sense of de Chirico`s late (and very questionable)  paintings. I am still not convinced by them, they seem to serve only to illustrate the confidence of his earlier work, but the talk was informative. 

2. Go to the Metropolitan Museum

This magnificent, sprawling collection, should require no introduction. I was particularly impressed by Dutch 14th century portraits this time, and also enjoyed the following (I have not listed media or sizes- this information can be found on the Met`s excellent website):

 Whistler, Cremorne Gardens No. 2, 1870-80

Whistler, as ever a curious artist, often seems ambivalent about his own presence. He knows, perhaps, that his own egoism is somewhat untasteful.

Fur Traders Descending the Missouri, George Bingham. 1845

The Arrival in Bethlehem
 Attributed to Master LC (Netherlandish, active second quarter 16th century)

I admired the grandeur of the artists vision, the sinuous lines used to lead the eye across and into the landscape and to create three dimensions.

 Pierre Bonnard, Garden, 1935

Georges Braque The Studio (Vase before a Window) - detail, 1939

What I liked here, in the V patterns on the chair seat was the confident spontanaity with which I perceived Braque to be enjoying creating patterns using tonal variations of colour.

Georges Braque, The Studio (Vase before a Window), 1939

 Georges Braque, Boats on the Beach at L'Estaque, 1906

 I similarly enjoyed the sense of paint being cheerfully dabbed to depict the town- the corresponding pleasure and delight in both the scene and  method.

 Henri Matisse, The goldfish Bowl, 1921  22

 The ease in this picture and the metaphor of the goldfish, the art object serving to the viewer as the goldfish serve to the inhabitants of the room.

  Leon Bakst, Design for the Set of the Ballet 'Narcisse', premiered at the Théatre de Monte Carlo, 1911

Leon Bakst Design for a Stage Set for the Ballet 'Le Donne de Buon Umore’ (The Good Humored Ladies), premiered in Rome, April 12, 1917

There was a display of work by the ballet scenographer- scenes with such sensual presence.

I enjoyed the dance between abstraction and depiction in these Chinese ceramics, the use of colour and their pleasure giving objectives

 Jean Dubuffet Woman Grinding Coffee, 1945

His work could be contrived but I don`t think it is, there is too much basic enjoyment of the paint effects.

Stuart Davis, Jefferson Market, New York, 1930

I don`t think this picture (above) works compositionally but it is interesting to speculate why.

Marsden Hartley, Cemetary New Mexico, 1925

I find a lot of Marsden Hartley`s work awkward and unresolved. This painting by contrast make a grand and certain impression on me.

3.The Whitney Museum

The Biennial (mainly junk) was on. In this context the the permanent collection`s set of works by  Calder contrast with wit and grace. I did not note down their titles.

I also enjoyed paintings by James Castle, which have great intensity. The architecture of the museum is very nice, but the place is expensive to visit and mostly not very rewarding. 

The view from the Whitney.



4. Painting in Chinatown

I produced three fine pictures here, (in fact they were from Two Bridges). The grandeur of the bug Deco blocks contrasts so well with the squalour and filth below.

5. American Folk Art Museum

This one I failed to tick off.

6. TJ Maxx- get shoes and maybe clothes?

An exhausting experience,. I managed to get shoes, however.

7. Buy Art Materials from Blick

An excellent shop with a fine range of oil paints. I have materials now for the next year or so.

8. Eat American breakfast

Failed to achieve. There wasn`t a classic American diner near my place and the idea fell off the radar.

9. Eat KFC

This was even better than i imagined it would be. KFC is easily the King of Junk food.

10. Painting in Central Park

I spent two happy days in the sun here. The schools were out and the families with their children were pleasant to chat to.

11. Painting in Brooklyn.

This was my main subject, Somehow I feel that I didn`t feel as awed by the subject as i`d expected- perhaps I was here too recently and this is the downside of familiarity.

12. Bookshopping maybe.

I visited many fine bookshops including Molasses Books, Human Relations, and Spoonbill and Sugertown in Brooklyn, Sterns and X. Very enjoyable.

 My purchases included this excellent work tracing the career of the Italian painter- much less of a recluse than one might have been led to understand, and whose career was more successful than I had understood partly because of the assistance of various Fascist affiliated organisations.

 His level of production was far higher than I`d imagined. For instance, in 1941 he painted twenty four landscapes and thirty-five still lives. 

Giorgio Morandi,The Art of Silence, by Janet Abramowicz
 Yale University Press, 2004


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Three framed pochades


Sunlit trees, 8 x 6 cm, oil on card- framed   SOLD

Scots Pines, Ingleses, oil on card, 14.5 x 16.5 cm  SOLD

Hampstead heath, oil on card, 18 x 16 cm - framed  SOLD