After weeks without rain, I planned a day of sketching outside for Part 3 for today…..BUT it began to rain in the morning and is still raining!
After checking social media and other trivia, I sketched the window and doodled for a while…
Then I watched some very interesting videos on YouTube of the artist/sculptor Kiki Smith from the USA. She is a compulsive artist who follows the path of her work and lets it flow without really setting any objectives first. I say compulsive because watching and listening to her she works from home – her living space is also where she finds inspiration, a peaceful space to work and be creative. She works in whatever medium suits her work – sculpture, photography, drawing, printing, fabrics, glass among many other mediums.
Checkout Tate Shots on Kiki Smith:
and Kiki Smith – Path:
This is an incredible example of letting your imagination and work leading you down a particular creative path. Her exhibition Path made me realise that there are no boundaries between drawing, textiles, sculpture, printing etc – the limit is you if you let it!
Then I read ‘The value of dreaming’ blog by Neal Musson on the OCA Student Blog and I felt that they were related in that he makes up a word – a creative space …. “dreamspace; The return to fabric and the things I haven’t made’.…… ‘To allow the creative mind to wander ambitiously without boundaries’….”
Not a bad morning exploring, drawing, listening and thinking whilst the rain continues to fall outside.
Living in Chile – so far away from the UK it is impossible for me to attend study days/student visits to galleries organised by the OCA. So I need to invent other ways to fill in this gap in my studies. I have been visiting galleries both in Chile and outside of Chile during my travels this year: Bolivia and Germany. Other trips this year include Colombia and Mexico.
This morning on YouTube I came across the work of Agnes Martin – an abstract expressionist who was lucky enough to reach the age of 92 – painting right up until the end.
I always thought that in expressing ones inner feelings in a painting was about making fast energetic, maybe furious marks – as in De Kooning or Pollock. In the work of Rothko he wanted the viewer to feel the emotions of his paintings and even cry in front of them.
The paintings of Agnes Martin however are quiet peaceful paintings with muted pastel colours (except for a series in black) – living a solatory reclusive life (not even reading a newspaper during the last 50 years of her life – to avoid distracting her thoughts/feelings) she poured her emotions into her works.
I personally cannot see the emotions within these paintings – they are silent, peaceful yes, but also cold and calculated. I need to find a gallery with the works to witness first hand if I would react differently to them. Martin very carefully calculated the division of the lines and would immediately destroy any paintings that did not meet her rigourously standards – this for me is cold and religiously extreme. If you looked up close the lines and marks were imperfect – this was deliberate and part of her technique.
I am intrigued by her work and wish to imitate her on perhaps a smaller scale at present and on paper.
References (From YouTube):
Tate shots – Agnes Martin
Agnes Martin Artist – video by Jennifer Kiley
Agnes Modern at the Tate Modern on The Art Channel
Moma – How to paint like Agnes Martin / IN THE STUDIO with Covey D’Augustine
Trees don’t follow the laws of perspective, or don’t seem to, because they are so complicated, with lines going in so many directions
David Hockney. A bigger message Conversations with David Hockney by Martin Gayford. Thames & Hudson 2011.
When I think about drawing trees, I immediately think of Hockney’s paintings and studies for his Woldgate Wood series, Constable’s sketches and studies of trees, the trees of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot and after recently reading about the work of Frank Auerbach, I am also inspired by his rapid/expressive drawings of trees:
Other ideas on the extreme side – I would include the wonderfully expressive paintings and drawings of trees by Joan Mitchell:
In reading Martin Gayford’s book on conversations with Hockney, I was interested on a section about his methods used for the painting of Woldgate Woods – painting with memory and photographs. I have also painted from memory in the past and it is an excellent way to include emotions/feelings into a painting without getting too distracted by technique and details. In the book, they discuss how Hockney uses his memory to paint. Constant drawing practice plays a large part and helps to train oneself to edit out parts of what you see – simplifying and experimenting with media. This practice makes it easier to use the memory to recall images and draw them in a more personal, emotional way.
Hockney recalls a story about the French philosopher Henri Bergson. He was sitting in a cafe opposite Rouen Cathedral, and he said that the only way you can see the cathedral properly from here is to get up, walk right round it, and then come back here….The point is (says Hockney) that you would then have a memory that you were looking at…..Of course if the subject is in front of you, it’s up to you, it’s the memory of a second ago, five seconds ago, a minute ago. Each memory will be different in quality, but if you train yourself, if you make notes in your head, you can use them very well.
For drawing inspiration, I looked at the drawings of Constable and Corot:
Constable, Elm trees in old hall park
Corot, The bell tower of St Nicholas
Constable’s elm trees drawing is a mamouth work of a stature in keeping with these giant elms, whilst Corot’s minimal and accurate use of both line and shading are something that I want to master in my sketches/drawings.
Ref. Martin Gayford/David Hockney. A bigger message Conversations with David Hockney. Thames and Hudson 2011
Find contemporary artists who focus on domestic interiors and analyse their choice of content, medium, format, etc. Consider how their work reflects its context in terms of era, fashion, mood, current issues, and so on.
Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940)
This is an artist I wish to study more – I love his complex, tranquil, intimate interiors.
Edouard Vuillard drew and painted many interiors during the course of his career. Many of his drawings include a window – almost certainly for the effect created by strong sunlight entering the room as in the pastel drawing (above) – As well as a single or indeed multiple light source for the interior. I deeply admire his interior painting of people reading, taking breakfast (not a mobile phone or even a TV in sight!) – as in the oil painting below:
In each of the rooms we are allowed to share in all of the intimate details of his home and his mother looking out of the window, eating breakfast etc.
In the painting of his mother taking breakfast, the busy table is balanced by the very decorative wallpaper, the open door/dresser and the wallpaper are counterbalanced spaces. The artist has used a limited palette to mantain harmony which has resulted in a very tranquil, quiet space. The subject is looking down at the table aparrently unaware of the viewer. A wonderful painting.
John Bratby (1905-1992)
These contemporary paintings by the British painter, John Bratby are busy and full of life – crowded spaces with recognisable items such as a woodburner, open fireplace, childs highchair and floral curtains. These rooms are on display with the viewer given a ‘circle’ seat from which to view the scene. The viewer is invited to see very nearly the whole room with all its clutter – the upper image displays living room, dining table, bed and what looks like a cooker in the background, whilst the lower painting shows us just the kitchen/diner with a person playing monopoly in the nude (was it a very hot day?)
Both paintings have used many triangles in the composition, along with strategically placed chairs.
Alberto Giacometti (1909-1966)
Interior – 1949
During the course of my studies so far, I have joined many other students wondering what defines a painting and what defines a drawing – Giacometti has very much blurred the answers to that question.
I will explore and investigate further Giacometti`s work in the next part of the course and in Part 4.
Studying the two images above it is interesting to note that in the LH drawing Giacometti uses darker lines in the foreground and lighter lines in the background to create depth, also the diagonal emphrasis of the table and other object to the front RHS draws the viewer into the picture, whilst in the RH painting darker tones are used to represent background areas with lighter areas in the foreground. Again there are diagonals in the placing of the stools and door frame/table legs.