Cameraderie…

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Enid on the Hi-Line, Acrylic on board, 30 x 30 cm., 2017

Sometimes you’re taken away from painting by other work or chores…or simple fatigue or recreation…but we all need some interaction with family and friends.  As for friendships they often tend to be longstanding, often forged way back.  As one gets older they really do go way, way back.  In this instance we all met – pause for reflection – forty seven years ago.

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Stuart Broad steaming in from the Pavilion End at Trent Bridge, July 2017

It started with a trip to Trent Bridge for the third day of the second Test against South Africa with my pal Allan.  Cricket (along with Snooker I feel) is very much an artists game, something to do with space and time.  And margins too, fine ones that can change the course of a match irrevocably.  Despite England’s increasing forlorn chances of saving the game it was a good day’s outing.  We followed this with an evening in the company of the fine singer songwriter Keith Christmas who played his latest album in its entirety explaining that he had conceived it with the live performance in mind.  I cannot recommend it too highly.

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Keith Christmas at The Musician, Leicester, July 2017

On the way home we got to discussing what makes a great artist (in any form) and Allan repeated a conversation with his own son, Adam (himself a very talented musician) who suggested it was simply intensity.  And I cannot agree more.  Keith has it in spades and I like to think it may be something to do with age – Keith’s latest has some of his best work ever and quite rightly he wants it out there and admired by as many as can experience it.

On Monday last I was away to London to meet up with another pal from the graduating class of 1973 at Falmouth School of Art, Stuart.  We were at Tate Modern to take in the Giacometti show that didn’t disappoint – full of well presented masterpieces.  It was intensity personified – especially as regards the spacial awareness in what constitutes formal integrity.  Over two days that took in a studio visit our conversations ranged widely though several of them were situated in his garden, a relatively small space but full of flower intensity that, to me at least, spills over into his paintings, ostensibly concerned with landscapes (mostly in Dorset & Spain) but just as much focussed on vibrant colour, light and form.

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Our talks about painting were easy and relaxed – 47 years does that! – and some of it homed in on intention and ambition.  What really matters to us is simply what our heart and head says to us in the moment – not all that extraneous matter that creeps in once you start situating the work in any kind of context.  Is that what we mean by intensity?

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Stuart in his studio, July 2017

Oh Lucky Man!

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I bid for this lovely small painting by Luke Frost (“Light Sap and Deep Green Chromavolts Study”, acrylic on paper, 17.5 x 10 cm) at the ‘This Way Up’ silent auction to raise funds for Falmouth degree students show in Shoreditch later this year and got it!    It will be on show in ‘The Discipline of Painting’ show later this year with one or two other surprises…

I really love Luke’s pictures…although steeped in the St. Ives tradition (family connection, working in Heron’s old studio etc.) he owes more to the absorption of minimal painting out of Barney Newman as an example to which he’s added his own personal sensibility.  And now I own one albeit a rather modest piece!