Friday, 30 July 2021

TV & the Art World


Television and the Art World

One thing that seems to loom large nowadays is the overweening emphasis on competition in many TV programmes. Nothing escapes the competitive treatment, It's "Challenge this" and "Challenge that" no matter what the subject there have to be losers every week and the  only one remaining deemed to be "The Best," with all the rest, that is all the losers being brave about it and putting on a brave face in front of the camera.

Many presenters, they are often art historians, who attempt to give programmes about artists, mostly outline their interesting and chaotic private lives very often to the exclusion of any sort of interesting explanation of the quality, innovation, handling, composition or relevance of their work to the contemporary competence.

The popular Victorians like Waterhouse, Watts, Stanhope Forbes, Lytton hardly get a mention although the re-Raphaelites have series devoted to them. Never shown, or heard of at all on TV are the masters of the 20th century watercolour Russell Flint and the Scottish colourists.

Additionally why do we never hear about the excellent commercial art practitioners who were so successful and influential in their time? The masters of poster design, Tamara de Lempicka, Ludwig Holwein, Tom Purvis and  latterly Rowland Hilder never are mentioned, the academic snobbery attached to the fact that they were commercial artists is still alive and well.

Very occasionally there is a bright spot with the appearance of Grayson Perry who seems to be the only person who understands what creation is all about.

I remember the old interval black and white video clip showing a potter raising a pot with consummate skill and dexterity. The same clip every time but wonderful to watch.

Wouldn't it be great to have TY programmes more like some of the best demonstration videos available for sale and on YouTube in which we can see actual art teachers and practitioners of some merit practically demonstrating how to do it. I could suggest John Yardley, Frank Webb, Tony Couch, Sterling Edwards, Andrew Pitt, Tim Wilmot, Thomas Schaller, Andy Eversen for a start,  all of them really inspiring to watch.


Thursday, 29 July 2021

 Here are three more of my watercolour paintings. I'm trying to get to grips with texture without the deliberately careless style normally associated with watercolours. This I have found quite a delicate and difficult process having previously concentrated on a hard edge style.

Any way here are a few examples of my most recent work.

                                                                York Road Earls Colne

St Monans Fife
Back of The Drum

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

 Here are some recent paintings during Lockdown.

I hope you like them.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

My Website

I have just spent a great deal of time adding a site search to the Home page of my website, I don't know yet what the purpose of it is yet. However it seemed to justify the spending of a great deal of time in playing with my copy of Webplus X8. This is an old program now abandoned by Serif, possibly because it does not run on Apple machines. It is a very competent program however and it currently enables me to produce and maintain two websites.
If you want to see the results of my efforts go to:

Saturday, 7 March 2020

Zen and the art of Watercolour

Here  is a piece that I wrote some years ago that I thought you might like.

After a gap of about 20 years I have just finished re-reading “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert Pirsig. It has struck me most forcibly that this book has more than a passing relevance to art in general and watercolour in particular.
It is rather gratifying to find that I now understand more of the philosophy that I did on first reading. He maintains that the great dichotomy between the classical and romantic ways of experiencing culture are successfully bound together by the notion of Quality. Later in the book he links this with the idea that the interpretation of the goal of the Sophists by Socrates was wrongfully translated as virtue whereas it should have been translated as excellence.
He then comes to the conclusion that Good and God are interchangeable as concepts and in substituting Quality for this quotes many examples from his teaching to illustrate that this concept is not normally the criterion adopted in institutional education.
Artists are extremely fortunate in that they are trained to regard all artistic endeavour as being at a point on a very large spectrum, the two ends of which are repre­sented by the extremes of the classical and the romantic, this way both right and left sides of the brain may play their proper part in artisitic endeavour.
As 1 understand it, Zen, as taught in Japan does not exist in isolation but is always related to a skill such as flower arranging,calligraphy or painting. It principally relies on the notion that intensive and long experience in an apprenticeship under a master will develop the physical and spiritual abilities of the pupil. In painting, if this has been a success, at the start of a brush-stroke, if enough concentration and spiritual power is brought to bear, the muscles of the body will take over of themselves and in a minor explosive of creative energy complete the stroke in a relaxed yet masterful manner. The unrelenting years of apprenticeship before the Japanese are considered masters in the arts of calligraphy or painting may look to our eyes as excessively severe, but contrast sharply with the current uncritical acceptance of untrained artists today.
The Zen method seems particularly well suited to creating a watercolour. In this branch of painting, the very nature of the materials and the unforgiving quality of the media demands a great deal of prior planning, which should be a thorough and exhaustive so that the watercolourist has solved the problems of placement, composition and balance well before undertaking the actual execution of the painting. He is then free to give his whole attention to the act of painting, on keeping his brushstrokes free and well-formed and that the placement is correct
This ensures that a strong statement is achieved. The best watercolours are those that combine the essential graphic elements but are also the most spontaneous and freshest in execution.
I have always believed in the underlying spiritual quality of artistic creation and greater experi­ence continually reinforces this view.


Friday, 28 February 2020

Back again after a long absence

Negotiate I used to have a blog and it didn't take me long to  realise I had lost the means of getting access to it. After a lot of effort and digging back into the past both on my computer and off it I managed to retrieve the way to get into it. So here I am again after a rather long absence due to health problems however I am glad to be back. I have done an awful lot of painting since 2017 and I hope to display some of it on this blog.
In the meantime here's one of my paintings for you to look at.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

All ready to go to London for a couple of nights with my wife, mainly to visit the Bankside Gallery. I hope to make one of my rare visits to the National Portrait Gallery, not forgetting the National Gallery of course. Visiting London is a rare opportunity to get some quite original photographs, as Samuel Johnson once said "to tire of London is to tire of life".