Sunday, April 21, 2013
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Let's try a blog post for a change. So much to do that I'll forgo my normal Facebook visits!
I'm mainly working on two portraits, a miniature for the R.B.S.A. Portrait Prize called There Is No Love. It's in three parts. Here is the frame:
It's rather shallow resin of some sort so I need to bulk it up to ensure that it can take mirror plates and D-Rings etc. that a gallery would want. So today I marked some wood and cut it. I'll carve it to a close match, cut out the holes and stick it. The three paintings will be a tube of paint, a portrait of silent film star Alice Joyce, and a skull. The frame itself will be decorated too with entwined rose vines.
Next, a self-portrait for a Sky Arts thing. This is a bit of an annoyance. At first I thought that I'd have no time to enter it, then I thought I could enter my Self-Portrait as Philosopher, but it's hardly got any of my face in it and not indicative of my style either so I ignored that. Then I thought it would be a fun challenge to paint something new in 4 weeks instead of 4 months so that inspired me. I came up with a zillion ideas on Sunday and mocked many up. My main focus was an old idea, an inside-out self portrait which was very surreal, and therefore typical of my style... however I worried that it was too surreal and not enough like a portrait, and also I noted that the Sky pictures much be submitted unframed which was also disastrous as the frame was part of the work, as most of my work is these days. I compromised and chose a "normal" portrait, but then ached to add something more to it. At first I wanted a butterfly with gold leaf edging but I didn't have any good butterfly photos to hand (I needed to compose it in one day, it's a tight schedule). Suddenly it came to me, the idea of a black hole, the lack of an idea but also behind it the sun, in gold. A simple design or rings within rings. There would be a simultaneous "gold eye" effect which would also reflect the theme of "portrait of an artist" - one idea element being that it was painted finely like a Flemish painting, which I paint like, in my head. I drew the outlines on Monday and today shaded a copy to check the likeness. Here is a glimpse, and no more...
Today I also applied the gold leaf. The panel was cut an primed on Tuesday. The gold stuck in some places and not others in a peppering effect. The has happened before and it annoying, I think it's due to lack of adhesion of the oil because it's absorbed by the panel. I'll try an acrylic sealer first next time (the traditional use of shellac is an option although its brittle nature makes it more risky). There are many other options; PVA plus wetting (akin to the medieval way of wetting sized gesso) ... well lots of options!
Then I transferred the drawing. Tomorrow I'll paint the first layer of the tiny R.B.S.A. picture.
Oh, one last update is that I also scanned a new painting today for a competition with the theme of Labyrinth. Here is Ariadne Unlocking The Minotaur For Theseus. It's about unleashing emotions, my own of course, but used here as a metaphor for Ariadne and her desire for Theseus, the release of the Minotaur and her heartbreak when he chose her sister instead.
There is a description on my website. Here is a poem I wrote about the myth.
Theseus, take this black thread
through twisted thoughts of golden wit.
Traverse the passion and the dread
and overcome the heart of it.
Take this soft key and it will fit
my love, for Daedalus is cold.
Let my dark words by your lips lit
defeat the bull these tight walls hold.
Now in this heart, this iron soul,
I watch the sad beast mourn his breath.
I cast away his sleeping chains,
his fear of life, his fear of death.
The deed is done. I emerge above.
Ariadne thank, but her sister love.
Finally I heard today that my painting "Two Roman Legionaries Discovering the God-King Albion Turned into Stone" in the Grosvenor Museum has now been published by the Public Catalogue Foundation in the book Oil Paintings in Public Ownership in Cheshire. The book will be official launched at Tabley House on Wednesday 1 May. I'd be excited to attend that. It's a bit off the beaten track so I will need to locate a lift.
Assuming I have time. Well that's today.
So far... lots still to do!