Wednesday, July 28, 2021

A trip to São Bento do Sul: Part 2


São Bento do Sul: view from a ridge, oil on card, 26 x 27.5 cm

This is the second picture painted here, plein air. 
When I travel in the interior of Santa Catarina I feel that I'm in another country altogether: an extremely conservative place.  On the Sunday I arrrived it seemed everything in São Bento do Sul was closed and I ended up eating lunch in a pseudo-Alpine tourist restaurant. And then there is a that provincial slowness...
The town has many winding roads which go up and down and is most confusing to navegate. It has many Germanic style buildings. And most of it is well maintained without grafitti or mess. There is a gigantic white cathedral, in a sort of Art Deco, perhaps, on a hill above the town: closed on a Sunday!


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

A trip to São Bento do Sul: Part 1: a yellow house



A trip to São Bento do Sul: Part 1


I stayed at Filadélfia Hospedagens, a charming hotel to the north of the town, above a district delightfully called "Oxford", in  beautuful grounds. The town shuts down rather at weekends, alas. 

The weather was perfect: sunny and crisp.



São Bento do Sul, a yellow house, oil on card, 25 x 22 cm



This is a simple kind of painting that I am working with: the style owes a fair bit to Morandi. 





Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Lagoa, dunes; São Bento do Sul


Lagoa, dunes, July 21, 2021, oil on card, 24.5 x 21 cm
An extremely clear day, like Mantegna.
I resolved to go painting in São Bento do Sul next week for two nights.
 It's over a year since I left the island for more than one night.I will stay in a little country hotel. I don't really know this corner of Santa Catarina, though I have driven through it and found it enchanting.


Monday, July 19, 2021

Edge of a wooded area



The edge of a wooded area, Florianopolis, oil on card, 28 x 26 cm

I'd been thinking about the idea of creative success as a being in the zone.

And, up to today, I'd thought that one might arrive in this creative zone by means of some meditative state, or by way of focussing myself.

But now I think it is not a thing that can be expected. Really, it's a sort of gift, which arrives of its own mysterious accord.  It can't be forced any more that a gift can be commanded from anyone. You can give more opportunities for it to come, lay time aside, but that doesn't guarantee its appearance.

By accepting this idea I free myself from the frustration which comes from trying to force creativity, and it refusing to show.

I realise this in part thanks to Lewis Hyde, whose book, The Gift, I have yet to read, but whom I've seen speaking on Youtube.

 From this book:

As the artist works, some portion of his creation is bestowed upon him. An idea pops intohis head, a tune begins to play, a phrase comes to mind, a color falls in place on the canvas. Usually, in fact, the artist does not find himself engaged or exhilarated by the work, nor does it seem authentic, until this gratuitous element has appeared, so that along with any true creation comes the uncanny sense that “I,” the artist, did not make the work. “Not I, not I, but the wind that blows through me,” says D. H. Lawrence.

 I might add that often (but not always) a creative success follows a session which is marked by chaos and confusion, which many changes in direction, false starts and all my actions leading down blind alleys. Perhaps in this turbulent session is a bringing forth of demons which are to be calmly slain in the session which follows it. 


Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Dunes, Lagoa, July 2021



Dunes, Lagoa, July 2021, oil on card,  25 .7 x 28 cm


The picture is very grey-brown and wintry. 
I've been using liquin recently and thus the paints dry much faster. I first mix up a basic palette with liquin before applying paint (this initial stage is extremely enjoyable, in which one discovers fresh new colours). I sometimes use a little linseed oil too, to get the right flow. The brishwork is quite rapid and consists of hatching. 

I painted a close up of some of the shrubbery about a year ago, which I felt very successful but I have been unable to repeat this for those strange reasons that govern one's interactions with the motif.
 Trying to recreate previous successes seems never to work. It's all rather mysterious.


Friday, July 9, 2021

Forest Path


Forest Path, oil on card, 26 x 25.5 cm


Forest path (detail)



The light moves around in the forest far more than is probably apparant to anyone who isn't sitting watching and trying to depict it. One has to choose one's moment of reality or else one is endlessly rebeginning.

 I worked quite easily today, but previous sessions here were trying. Thre are a good days and bad but it is never clear to me why some go one way and others another....

I like the meatiness of the paint in this picture and I like the soft chalky colours. It's all a bit Roger Fry isn't it?



Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Dunes, Rendeiras, early July


Dunes, Rendeiras, early July, 2021, oil on card, 26 x 28 cm
The light here shifts subtly and is hard to trace. 
Many pools have formed since I was last here.

I'm mixing liquin into the paint to help speed drying and increase flow. I use the odd drop of linseed oil too.
 Drying times matter if one is travelling with oil pochades as it is so easy for them to smudge in transit. I will get some Alkyd paints when I next can, at least, some whites, as this might be easier than carrying liquin around, and they dry considerably more quickly than traditional oils.