I went into the W.H. Patterson gallery in London last week to pick up the prize from the Venice In Peril exhibition. The John White Memorial Prize now has my name engraved on the silver plate and is in my safekeeping until the end of the year when I have to return it back to the gallery in time for it to be awarded to the next winner in the 2013 exhibition. Thank God I did'nt lose it on the way home!
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Sunday, 26 February 2012
Finished it today as planned. It has'nt come out exactly as I envisioned but they never do, do they? I was going to have a lot of broken colour but I painted it in the way that was natural to me which I guess is the right way to do it. By all means absorb influences but you have to paint the way that it seems like your subconscious wants to express itself and I suppose that you have to get out the way and let it get on with it! There will be a companion picture to this but not sure what yet; I am thinking of a snow scene very near to where I live but I will sit on it for a couple of days and see what I want to do then.
Saturday, 25 February 2012
Put in most of the basic snow underpainting today which now gives me an idea of how the lighting is working. I need the snow to be on the dark side but still looking bright in relation to the light at this time of day. The sun has to be the lightest element of a picture that otherwise should have an atmosphere of palpable freezing cold! Hoping to finish the painting tomorrow.......
Tuesday, 21 February 2012
I have decided to retain the Caspar David Friedrich feel to the ruins and trees which apart from a little more work on the trees are ready for the blue/violet snow and mist to be added on top. I need to get the foreground ready tomorrow which I have already made a start on; all the pinky grey areas will be overpainted with the blue/violet snow which I will keep on the darkish side as I want the lightest part of the picture to be the sun. The eventual overall colours of the painting will be around the yellow/blue-violet complementary axis.
Sunday, 19 February 2012
After my little hiatus away from the studio I have finally been able to get on with the new picture. You will notice first of all that I am not having a sunburst as originally envisioned but I have changed my mind over the intervening days and decided instead to opt for a wan sun low in the Winter sky. The important thing about this picture is to get across the muffled atmosphere of the snow-covered landscape, it has to look quiet, icy cold and somehow suspended in time. There will be no footprints in the snow for instance, it has to look deserted, forgotten. All today's work has been the acrylic underpainting, putting down colours that will sit under the snow so at the moment it looks a bit messy! The composition should start to come through when the snow is painted in. It reminds me of Caspar David Friedrich at the moment...no bad thing!
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
After a four day hiatus (see previous post) I am up and running again on a new painting. It is set in the grounds of Sudely Castle which I am going make into a cold winter snow scene. There will be a low sunburst on the horizon a third in from the left which will set off some nice yellows, oranges and sienna's on the nearest ruins in an otherwise cold picture made up of blues, blue/greens and violets. I intend to introduce some touches of sienna's and dull oranges into the foreground to give the painting more unity of colour and I see the whole picture being quite dabby in that I want broken lines and broken colour. The strong design will be offset by subdued light (apart from the sunburst) and broken line and colour so that it is more like a pattern. I want to try and evoke that muffled sound that the landscape has when covered in snow. Unfortunately I now have to be away until Saturday so I am unable to get on with it until effectively Sunday - kind of regretting that four day hiatus but I needed it to recharge batteries.
Monday, 13 February 2012
It is now time to move on to the next painting and I seem to have come up against one of my "Oh-what's-the-point?" frames of mind. Just because you can does'nt mean that you should just bang out yet another painting. In these uncertain times when paintings that should normally sell are not, is there any point in banging out another unless it has something to say? The world seems stuffed to the gills with paintings to me, sometimes they are just paintings by artists that seem to just churn them out - for instance landscapes painted quickly in a loose "painterly" fashion of which there now seems to be zillions, one artists' work being indistinguishable from another because that literally is the "fashion" of what much landscape art should look like these days. Well OK you can say that Art is therapy, particularly as far as the artist is concerned as in my case when I realised a year ago that I need to paint pictures to keep myself feeling positive and alive.....but should that be enough of a reason to foist yet more of them onto an unconcerned world? I think we need to exert Quantity control as well as well Quality control on what we produce. For example I could have started a painting straight after completion of the last one, it would have turned out alright but essentially it just would have been more "stock" that would lie around in my studio and remain unsold, assuming that is that it had even made it as far as a gallery wall in the first place - I have a lot of them already! A painting has to stand out from the crowd these days, it needs to be considered, have something to say and dare I say it, be beautiful in some way. By just standing back for a while and not jumping straight in to another painting willy nilly surely then there is the time to hone the elements of composition, colour, subject and concept into the painting that will then have real quality and power that will lift it above the ordinary so that it it is what it is meant to be, Art not Product......or is it a case of "Shut up Mark and get on with painting!"?
Wednesday, 8 February 2012
My painting "From The White Horse" has been selected for their "International Artist Challenge No: 68 Landscapes" competition and will be published in the April/May 2012 issue no: 84. This was a painting started on location in acrylic and finished in the studio in oil.
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Finished the painting this morning, hopefully another one for the Medici Gallery show in June. It has come out fairly near to how I intended, I did'nt want it to be too dark and I wanted it to be subtly colourful and I seem to have avoided it being too much influenced by Atkinson Grimshaw. On to the next painting - not sure what the subject will be yet!
Friday, 3 February 2012
Tomorrow I will paint in the water and the reflections of the moon and then I can get on with the foreground and start to work on getting the feeling of distance it needs. I want it to have more colour in it, all the darks should be blues and I am going to have some orange/yellow lights on in the windows of a few houses - after all the painting is based on a blue/orange complementary axis.
Thursday, 2 February 2012
My first painting demonstration seemed to go pretty well, I had a nice email from Linda Butcher of the Society thanking me for my "passion for the subject and the media" and "my laid back manner" and said that they would like me to come back perhaps next year. It was a friendly and attentive audience and I can only hope that I did'nt confuse them too much! The Society has a busy programme throughout the year, they look very well organised and I guess that there must be many more around the UK just like them that rely on the enthusiasm of people like Chris Moore and Linda Butcher etc who are prepared to put the unselfish effort in to keep things going.
Thank you to Cliff Wright for driving me there and taking the photo's; we had a fun day taking photographs in the New Forest earlier in the day - I will post a few later on Facebook.