Friday, 29 March 2013

Mixing with Hookers

Cardiff Castle Green
40 x 30 x 3.5cm
acrylic on canvas

Cardiff's less well-known castle, the Norman motte-and-bailey inside the walls of the 19th-century fantasy battlements.

In preparation for a green-fingered painting I've been playing with greens, as well as the obligatory violet and purple. There's something very restrained about Hookers Green, a great colour for verdant shadows. Meanwhile the background colour was a warm cobalt blue.

My next-door neighbour used to look after Cardiff Castle's peacock population, so these birds were obligatory!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Show me the Monet

BBC2 has been re-showing the 2012 "Show me the Monet" series at ridiculous o'clock in the morning for the previous fortnight. I've been viewing some of the programmes on I-Player with a mixture of horror and curiosity. All credit to the BBC for doing what they do best, the unthinkable, trying to popularise Fine Art on mainstream television.

But populism comes at a price, a pantomime X-Factor format. The jury (aka the 'Hanging Committee') are an art dealer with a commercial expertise in valuing art; an author that at least talks some sense and provides balance; a Simon Cowell-esque "boo hiss he's behind you" villain. Art is reduced to 'skill', 'emotional response' and 'value' . To add insult to injury the programme is presented by a saccharine BBC Breakfast sports presenter, making light of the entrants' misfortunes and generally stating the bleedin' obvious!

A mixture of well-meaning and talented (but often naive) amateurs and semi-professional artists submit their work to be judged and, hopefully, displayed for a handful of days at the Mall Galleries, London. I'll admit, the variety of works is interesting! On the other hand, the decisions of the Hanging Committee are often frustratingly unpredictable (but usually erring on the side of traditional skills and subjects).

I remember seeing an anouncement recently that SMtM wasn't being commissioned for a third series. That would be a shame! Art rouses passions and extremes of subjectivity. Get a presenter with a modicum of expertise, remove the judgement from its straightjacket of rationalism, maybe add a practising artist to the Committee? However much each person has strong (and different) opinions about art, it must be more fun than watching the next parade of 17 year old wannabe's singing karaoke on mainstream TV.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Christine with a Pipe

Christine with a Pipe
40 x 50 x 3.5cm
acrylic on canvas

This is a provisional title for my latest portrait painting and maybe will become permanent. I was initially presented with a series of quite racey photographs but chose to close-in on this upper body composition with the prominent addition of an unusual prop.

On the strictest of instructions from the sitter that the base colour be anything-but-orange, I chose a mid pink. The limbs frame the composition and I was quite pleased with the rough brush- strokes that form the prominent forearm.

Well, the whole thing may not bring down a government, but it was an interesting and challenging experience!