|"Rises all Boats" Tower Bridge from Wapping. 8"x10" oil on canvas board.|
|"Spring Delayed" 8"x0" Battersea Park. Lonodn|
|"Morden Geese" 8"x10" oil on canvas board|
When I came to the UK and after only a few outings, I had the temerity of dispensing some advice in this blog for the plein air artist that arrives for the first time. I have a more nuanced knowledge of it now and I feel my last paintings reflect it. They have only a bit of the California artistic 'baggage' I brought here (I still don't care how many windows a building has or if I missed a lamp post).
Yes, it rains and the weather can't make up its mind. I've started many a painting in sunlight and ended up soaked, and vice versa. And yet, the clouds are invariably glorious, the fogs, the mist, the sun, the greens, the greys, it is a display that makes everything glow under any conditions, even inside London, with the added bonus of historic buildings and shimmering modernity. I so wanted to paint the muscle-and-lace majesty of plantain trees and the daffodils crowding the parks. I've yet to see a cow though but I could go bonkers painting them. Next time, I'll come to paint, not to work endless hours and travel the underground.
|"Selfridges" 8"x10" oil on canvas board|
For the painter determined to make a living here, that's another story. London is very expensive, competitive, hectic. Galleries are not searching to 'discover' anyone that has not stood out in some way or another either through the winning of prices or through strong recommendations. I wish I had had more time to explore the London art world, at least the part of the art world that doesn't involve dead sharks and unmade beds. On the other hand, the English have a very healthy attitude towards artists. The arts are a high-dividend paying industry through fashion, film, illustration, etc so in the worst of cases they are not simply dismissed as a useless distraction.
And any type of art or artist has a place here, a meetup group, a sketchers group, a drink-and-draw-and-then-meditate-over-pizza group. It's drenched in possibilities.
I regret leaving England . Nothing to do with the Queen or quaint cottages or tea at five or even red buses and handsomely dressed lads. Nothing to do with the fact that it has pushed me to the brink of collapse with its relentless crowds and the frantic pace of work and life. I've lived in a rent-box more apt for the streets of a third world country than what one might imagine this city to stand for. -For that, we can just blame the immigrants as one so often does, and ignore the speculations of the Russian and Qatari oligarchs as well as the tax-thirsty councils that allow them to speculate away.
|'Yumchaa Cafe. Goodge St' watercolor and ink|