02 November 2014

Notebook #3

"Admiralty Arches" Sunset in Trafalgar Square. 8"x10"

I counted them. I surpassed 100 sketches of London in 3 months.  That is two notebooks full. Plus a dozen oil panels and a few larger watercolors.  Now the question is : Where am I going to put all this? No, the real question is how does the future look, at all?  It really sucks the life out of anything to be in this constant flux, in a shared flat, away from my husband,  yadda yadda,...my usual complaining.
For now, I am cracking open an new notebook and a set of newly purchased waterbrushes.

"Trafalgar" 8"x10" oil

Some new ideas about how to best portray London might materialize soon. Not sure how.   London seems  very much a city enamored with change, migration, construction... everyone seems a bit unhinged and in motion not quite inhabiting but aspiring, maneuvering, rushing, comparing and tightly dressed for battle.  This is capitalism's cradle for a reason. Pragmatic yet beautiful yet frothy and troubled in patches. And  I  don't think I have captured that yet in my paintings but I can see the idea rearing its head.  No promises. May be it is me projecting all this on the mobs that seem to besiege every venue at all times. No wonder exclusivity is big business....

"Carousel at the Natural History Museum" watercolor sketch
 The weather has been unseasonably warm. Not that it matters,  I was gainfully trapped at work. However, I did manage to get what looks like the last sunny afternoon and head to Abbey Road (a friend who will never outgrow the Beatles "requested" I do so) and painted the scene -sans posers-. The extra perk was that Alma-Tadema's house was also in the vicinity.

"Abbey Road" with the crossing made famous by the Beatles. 8"x10" oil
 My circle of artist acquaintances has expanded. The weather has melted the excuses of even the laziest plein air painters and the Brass Monkeys group has been substantially attended. Now I am looking forward to the winter outings. Besides the protean Rob Adams, I've met Dan Wrighston, Pauline Canessa Hazelwood, Terry Preen, Chris Burdett, Julian Lovegrove, Robbie Murdoch, Natalie Stewart Clark and I'm sure I forgot others, plus the people on Facebook I've been corresponding with.

Brass Monkeys gathering in Trafalgar Square.

"Cetaceous wonders" watercolor. Natural History Museum.

It's hard to keep up with all the wonderful exhibitions in London. Hell,  I'm getting a museum membership or I'll go broke, not sure if the Royal Academy (the Moroni show is so juicy), the Tate (The members only room has such nice views) or the National Art Pass. Right this moment there are some choice shows  with "Late Rembrandt" leading the charge at the National Gallery; "Moroni" - a very intriguing and incredible artist- at the Royal Academy , Egon Shiele's "Radical Nudes" at the Courtauld... Since my sweet parents were so incredibly nice to come visit me last weekend, I booked three tickets for viewing "Late Turner" at the Tate with them. Turner's marine and whaling paintings are something else, atmospheric and swirly, romantic. He was a concept artist before we knew what concept artists were, making up landscapes as he went along, taking trips all over Europe in search of the sublime and then leaving everything open, ambiguous and unfinished.

On a side note, "Mr Turner", the movie by Mike Leigh was painful to watch.  The photography and production design were great including the cg "Temeraire' and the recreation of "Varnishing Day" at the Academy.  Those elements make the movie worth seeing. The actors did a great job as well , even all the growling by Spall (Turner) which gets tiresome, we get it, he is  a blue collar bloke. But the whole 'beast /poet' message wore me down and that was clearly the director's doing as well as the "see a train, paint a train" bits. Ruskin as a prancing queen was neither funny nor in tune with the rest. And any  time Turner decides to paint, he  either has a heart attack or  his neglected wife appears or  he offends Constable or he is all spit and scrub.... I guess painting is really not all that cinematic per se.

Ok, that was a long side note. But still on the subject of Turner and his whereabouts dad, mom and I  also visited Richmond which was relatively calm and quite charming. It as also full of surprises like Mick Jagger's house, the remains of Richmond Castle in which grounds we saw the artist studio pictured below and the strange fact that if you see people dressed in riding boots, boiled wool jackets and other accoutrements suitable for what could be considered quintessential landed gentry out of a Woodehouse novel, they are probably moneyed Spaniards -or similar-  trying to fit in (and cluelessly failing).

Sketch of the Thames as it passes by Richmond

This is an artist studio! We saw a woman painting inside. Dream on!

1 comment:

Judy P. said...

Interesting stuff, sounds like you have met some like-minded painters!