Thursday, 8 November 2012

Hectic Days

Post-Latvia, I have been busier than ever. A plethora of committments and daily responsibilities overlap with intensive painting time. Last night I went to see an exhibition of work by Ashley  Hanson at the Canvas and Cream gallery (London). Ashley studied at Canterbury College of Art, in the same year as me. I had not seen him for about 25 years! As we greeted each other, I found myself overwhelmed with emotion. Over all these years, we have both carried on, and while the memories of College days (and student mischievousness) were still clear in our minds, we faced each other as mature artists, with much to say about colour and technique. We both agreed that our 'era' at Art School had been a very rich one.

The ripples from Latvia still prompt new work. I miss my studio so much, and the company of all the artists. My only complaint was that we needed a longer time. But it was wonderful getting up each morning in the Latgolla hotel, going up to the 10th floor restaurant and choosing from an enormous selection of cooked foods, cereals, juices, and coffee. We ate while overlooking the town with flat, luminously green landscape beyond, and discussed art and artists. It was a fertile ground from which to head to the studios.
I loved the short walk across the main square and down through the pretty park to the Art school. The trees shimmered with shades of gold and yellow, and the fountain sparkled in the sunlight. Though I was often very tired, the sight of the studio gave me instant energy.
Yesterday I worked on 'Flying into Riga Airport,' version two. In the photos we are carrying the first version to the exhibition venue, on September 24th. Though it was resolved, I had an idea to start a second version, to explore some other possibilities. This new version is the same size, 100 by 140cm, and of a similar format, but I am allowing other marks and colours to seep in. Seeing Ashley's series of paintings 'City of Glass,' in which he explores the same format across 6 huge canvases, confirmed that I am right to make this a series.
Shortly after I arrived back from Latvia, I wrote an article for THE JACKDAW, on the invitation of David Lee. My copy of the magazine arrived last Friday, and I was very pleased to see that I have a whole page for my description of the painting residency, and its affect on my work. If you are interested to read this, it is in the November/December issue, available through The Jackdaw website.

(Photos: Taking the large painting to the exhibition venue:
The Opening evening of the Mark Rothko residency, when we were all presented with Mark Rothko umbrellas, and a bag of goodies. There was an amazing presentation, with dancers clad from head to toe in skin-tight colour, their faces hidden. I will add photos of this in another post. Photos by Vladimir Vatmahter.)
All photos in this blog may be viewed large by clicking on them.

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