As regular readers know I have a genius for prevarication. I have been planning the Weatherland series since I completed my large Landscape & Memory project some time back. I managed to make sketches for the twelve paintings – one for each month – that will comprise this series (rather than the 54 in the L&M group!) but have been dithering for many months on the size of these canvases. Reviewing the sketches much of my agony revolves around the question of scale. Not least as regards the size of certain marks translating into the body movements required to accomplish them and the relationships between them. The question of scale is often in mind when planning something in advance – one reason I often just get going with a panel or canvas rather than having it plotted out. But I’ve now settled on a metre high by 1.6 wide…not quite exactly the dimensions of the sketches but pretty darn close – and critically just right in the sweep of my hand across the canvas…
So I now need to sort out the dreary business of stretchers, canvas and priming not my favourite pastime. Luckily the Heart Of Rural England project that is trucking on (now on the third part – Melton Borough:Painting The Town Red) has a rigid 30 x 40 cm. format that clarifies matters, not least in utilising shop bought ready made canvases. This group is progressing nicely now; Edmundthorpe is the twelfth completed with the other fifteen on the studio wall (at least four of which are pretty much cooked).
I had a very deep pocket and access to a very large gallery! The Landscape & Memory series is now complete, not before time it must be said. After all the first tranche (the Wood section) began back in Spring 2016 with the first completed works dated that summer. the second (Water) dallied through 2017 and into last year with the final group (Rock) starting then and bringing us up to the beginning of autumn 2019. It is 54 works in all that I have always envisaged in three blocks of 18, most likely 2 up and 9 across (as was the case with the first section that I showed at Harrington Mill – though a tall space might suggest a more vertiginous arrangement?
As for the cash…I did show at HMS with the works (all on paper) pinned directly to the wall but the framing up of one piece from Wood courtesy of a purchase by friends and posted here a while back clearly showed up how much better they would look all done.
This would likely require an outlay of upwards of twelve grand. Any takers for a bit of sponsorship then?!
Nowadays it seems to be one thing after another…with activity that follows hard on activity. Of course it’s nothing of the sort really, just the onset of age gives the appearance of time rushing by. And things that I used to have to do ‘on the hoof’ I can now take time over… So it is with the painting, I give even more time over to sitting and pondering than I did when younger, though I could lose hours to cogitation even back then. Following on from the completion of Rock Of Ages, the third and final grouping of the Landscape & Memory project, I’m still drawn to one aspect of that endeavour, viz. the inclusion, or rather the wraparound, of text on paintings.
In other news the show I’m curating at Deda this autumn is rapidly approaching, much of the work for it is waiting patiently in my studio for delivery this coming weekend. The view is on Wednesday 11th September because before then we’re off to Venice for a few days to take in the Biennale though I’m imagining spending quite a bit of time in the Gorky, Frankenthaler, Scully shows about town too.
I’ve said before that I often find lyric music difficult whilst painting…but I just took delivery of the latest Keith Christmas album…so it had to be first up today. Go to his website and buy a copy!
In any event I’m now onto finishing the final touches to Petrarch Reads Augustine the last of the Rock Of Ages so its that light headed feeling that sees some optimism in the gloom that I find when I look at what is going on outside my studio! And to a certain extent that pervades Keith’s latest album too. With a bunch of tracks celebrating life and relationships and a lighter hand on the tiller of anger and outrage that characterised a deal of the (nonetheless) excellent songs on his last album (Crazy Dancing Days -why not purchase that one too whilst you’re at it). I’m also having a bit of fun with another of my TFTLR pieces… that lighten up the mood too…
from my last post…goodness knows why really. It does get harder to have much to say other than that ‘events’ sometimes get in the way of the activity of both making and commentating on work. And does that matter much? As I get older I’m realising that productivity isn’t the only criterion – though its one I do put some store in. Hence my desire to see the completion of the Rock Of Ages, the third and final part of the Landscape & Memory trilogy. So here is the last but two of the eighteen that make up this group.
I mentioned Lawrence Carroll a few days back.And now I just took delivery of this very handsome monograph.Whenever people tell you, as they get older, that they have no regrets don’t believe them.Ok if you’ve lived a bit they may be modest ones but there will be some things that could have, may be should have, happened.
Around about the late 1970’s my work seemed to me to be complicating itself to the point where I needed to step back and rethink.Over a year and a bit (from late 79 through 80) some very minimal pieces were made that – I hoped – had a certain ‘quiet authority’ and communicated through their simple presence in the world.Only one or two were ever exhibited (in group shows) and I never had a chance to see them in a decent space where their cumulative impact might have been greater.
They were large works, with minimal titles too.Made on big sheets of paper I backed them with glass fibre resin.Over the year the use of this, naturally with scant regard to health and safety back then, resulted in some extremely deleterious health issues. Coupled with a change of circumstances (work, home and studio) my dissatisfaction with this work led to an abandonment.When I settled into my new circumstances months later I began re-complicating my work and over several years this accelerated, culminating in a brief period of figuration in the mid-eighties (I wasn’t alone in this).Over the subsequent thirty plus years a certain seesawing between a more minimalist position and a complexity in my work has continued to this day…though I’ve rarely gone as far out as the 1980 works. One regret I have is that I never got a chance to see more of Carroll’s work. My other regret is that I’ve not been a wee bit more disciplined and plotted a more steady course over the years.Whether this would have produced better work, or I would have been happier who can say?
In any event activity continues…Rock Of Ages, the third (and final) part of my Landscape & Memory project is slowly drawing to a close. With three of the 18 that make up this section completed over the past couple days, only 11 to go now.
or a series of such…Rock of Ages – the third and final part of the Landscape & Memory project. This one Savoy by Walpole is probably nearer the first part of the whole work, the Waldgeschichten part than most of the other seventeen (each of the three parts comprise 18 individual works).
At least for the moment as this one is only the fourth to be completed in this last group. Some kind of fundamental underpinning to what one does seems all the more important as the external world gets crazier by the day and appears to be spiralling towards nasty intolerance, authoritarianism and worse. On top of the rest of it came news today of the passing of Thomas Nozkowski – a painter for whom I have had immense fondness for over twenty five years. It’s nigh on impossible to figure out how to respond to these things for the best.
I’m a passed master at swapping horses in mid-stream…after all I’ve got three smallish canvases completed since Xmas with another seven, one a fair bit bigger (a metre square), underway. All of these are probably, even with my piddling about, quite near to completion so – just the moment to turn away from them and reconnect with something quite different! But that’s my M. O. as anyone following this blog will know. So back to the Landscape & Memory project and getting into the final stage – the Rock series. Here’s the second of the eighteen that will make up this group – Contemplation By St. Francis. Click on the relevant tag for some kind of explanation about this malarkey.
Nothing concentrates my mind like the impending end of the year.I know its foolish of me but the wholly artificial milestone of the 31st December tipping into January 1st has me frantically endeavouring to tidy up production of work. Given my equally absurd penchant for multiple objectives for my work in the form of various ‘series’ or ‘projects’ this is, as one might imagine, something of a tyranny.So I have three more of the Coastal Banners to complete – will they get resolved?I’m revisiting a host of the Playground Of The Midlands canvases to see if I can put more of them properly to bed.A number of Very Like Jazz follow ups are assuming a more prominent place in the pantheon of T2R2(those that require resolution) not least because Better Git It In Your Soul is, courtesy of the energetic and exceptionally talented and generous Robert Priseman (who has done so much for Contemporary British Painting) is on tour again in 2019.So I’m thinking this strand of my work that has been quietly bubbling under for the past year needs more of an outing.
And of course I’m heavily into part three of the Landscape & Memory project – Rock – that I’d dearly like to have fully completed by the time the clock ticks over again into 2020 but at my rate of prevarication means quite a lot of cogitation as well as more painting (though mercifully all of them are in play now).Of course I have all those small things that bump along more or less all the time.The Wonky Geo series, now heading north of 60 in total, a set of little abstract landscapy things as yet untitled (and unseen) and two more tiny boxes full of half baked and half realised workouts…oh…and the glacial progress of the i series as above. And just to top it off there’s a host of Paintings Standing Up, experiments in three dimensions, that I cannot for the life of me decide are worthwhile pursuing or not.Yep nothing fogs the mind like the impending Year End!
Here’s a rarity – a kind of semblance of recognisable imagery with this – the penultimate piece in the L’Histoire De L’Eau section of my Landscape & Memory series – The Vain Water-Poet. Named in honour of John Taylor whose escapades fit well within the broader history of English eccentrics. As always there is little that connects the picture with the event beyond the very loose form of the boat and the text but that is not really the intention as I’ve suggested before.
As it happens this image, most likely because it was the one up on the wall in the studio at the time, is featured in the visual advertising for Lucy Cox‘s enterprising series of podcast interviews – Painters Today where I am honoured to be the third artist in this endeavour – connected to the Contemporary British Painting group and the excellent Priseman-Seabrook collection. Whether anything I said over the course of a longish interview has any value is for others to judge but it might shed a little light on the activity I get up to and is recorded here.