Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The new Mark Rothko Centre, Daugavpils, Latvia

The Mark Rothko Centre, technicians setting up the stage for the Opening, 24th April

It seems a long time ago now, but it's only a week since I flew to Latvia. Exactly a week ago, I'd arrived at Riga airport. Today I'm going to include a few photos from the event, and later this week I'll describe fully the whole evening, and the fabulous new Centre.

The Speeches: Christopher Rothko

The Buffet meal after the Speeches.

In front of one of the slide shows, in the Centre

It was a truly memorable experience!  I met several of the artists who were on the residency with me, and some from previous residencies. The Centre is amazing, and you could spend days there, looking at the slide shows, the excellent Rothko reproductions, the library, and the six original paintings on loan from Rothko's children, Kate and Christopher. They were both at the Opening. All painting residents' artwork is now in the Centre's collection, and some were on display. More to follow!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Watching and Waiting

'Watching and Waiting,' oil and acrylic on canvas, 60 x 45cm

In 48 hours I'll be in Latvia, on the bus travelling to Daugavpils. It takes about three and a half hours so I expect to arrive around 10pm, and then the next day, Wednesday 24th April, I'll be attending the Grand Opening of the New Mark Rothko Centre. I'm very excited, as there are already a number of exhibitions in the Centre, and I'm hoping to see my own paintings in the Centre, along with work by the other residents (and to post photos on my return). As yet, I'm only certain that two of the other residents will be there. I will miss the group a lot but it will be lovely to see the Committee members, Farida and Maris again.

I'm back on Friday evening, and then it's back to work! I finished 3 canvases this week, one is being 'considered' for further changes, and I began a new canvas called 'Paphos Walkway,' a vertical format which has thrown up some entirely new elements and imagery, so something exciting to return to. I've also been drawing like crazy, and have numerous spontaneously calligraphic compostions to evolve.

It's been a busy time. I delivered my painting to the Royal Academy on April 11th. It was the first time I didn't have to queue, and I was there in total for around 15 minutes! I'd spent ages the previous day neatening the edges of my painting, as it sits in a black 'box' frame, and hope that the painting may catch their attention. At the same time, I was anxiously waiting to hear if my submission for the Painting Center (New York) had arrived intact. I was really pleased to hear last week that the CD, application form, and payment reached the Center.
'After the Long Hard Winter, it was Time for a Picnic,' (3) oil and acrylic on canvas, 60 x 45cm

Monday, 8 April 2013

Old and New

'After the Long Hard Winter, it was Time for a Picnic.' Oil and acrylic on board, 30 x 45cm

Paintings don't always end up the way you expect! The above painting started as something else, but the band of white I was trying to 'fit' into the composition wouldn't accommodate my wishes. Sometimes it happens that forcing shapes is against the overall composition, so I had to give up trying to control everything, and  let the paint flow into its own identity. Any kind of insistence can be against your painting, as it can rule out other possibilities! I squeezed some tubes of paint onto the board, and began breaking the block, and as I was at the time thinking of sunshine and Picnics, it suddenly took this form. It's more abstract than my previous work, but I felt that the paint suggestions and title really worked. 

This way of working reminded me slightly of a painting from a couple of years ago, which I'm adding below.

'Terrain,' (Cyprus series) oil on canvas, 98 x 60cm

Again, the painting evolved structurally as I worked, and colours began to suggest worlds. This is mostly how I like to work, with paint and meanings overlapping.

The Easter holidays interrupted my work, as time became rather fragmented, but I have framed my painting to take up to the Royal Academy this Thursday, and submitted drawings to the Painting Center, New York. As I am on their Register of Artists, they email me about exhibition opportunities.  They want 'working drawings,' the kind that artists make either as compositional studies for a painting, or working out ideas for paintings. The brief was that these should not be finished works, just studies, and could include paint and colour. I often work from quick watercolours or pen drawings, either from my imagination or as a synthesis of something seen. My application took a long time, as the work had to be submitted on a CD, by post, and I'm praying that my fee (dollar notes) reaches the PC safely - I could find no other way to submit the fee, as they wouldn't accept electronic payments. Below are a couple of the preparatory drawings I submitted.  Competition will be huge but if you don't try, you don't get the chance!
'Study for Terrain,' gouache on watercolour paper, 11.7 x 8.3ins

'Study for Evolving,' gouache on paper, 11 x 8ins
'Study for City with Fountains,' pencil, felt tip and gouache on watercolour paper, 11 x 8ins
(Click on image for larger view)