America’s Cool

Visited Oxford to see the Modernism exhibition as the write up says some really interesting pictures in this exhibition and it lived up to the modernism tag.

“This is the first exhibition to explore the ‘cool’ in American art in the early 20th century, from early experiments in abstraction by artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur Dove and Paul Strand to the strict, clean precisionist paintings of Charles Sheeler and Charles Demuth

See incredible loans from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago, including 35 paintings that have never been seen in the UK before.

In the Jazz Age of the ‘roaring’ 20s, and the ensuing Great Depression of the 30s, many American artists expressed their uncertainty about the rapid modernisation and urbanisation of their country by producing work that had a cool, controlled detachment and a smooth, precise finish.

This exhibition brings together some of the greatest works ever made by American artists – iconic pieces which reveal this fascinating aspect of American interwar art.”

afterwards I dropped in  on a small exhibition downstairs by a Chinese artist Qu Leilei, some really inspiring work.

“Free Admission

Contemporary Chinese artist Qu Leilei (b. 1951), now based in London, was a founding member of the avant-garde ‘Stars Group’ in the late 1970s, and immigrated to England in 1985. This exhibition shows his progression from calligraphic collage to an exploration of a new vocabulary of ink language blending lively brushwork with western technique.

Qu Leilei was born in 1951 in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, China, and like many other Chinese artists received training in painting and calligraphy at an early age. He started his career as a founding member of the famous ‘Stars group’ in China but it was while living in Britain that Qu Leilei has formed his unique style of ink painting. The exposure to Western art, especially classical sculpture and Italian Renaissance painting, intensified his quest for perfection of naturalistic image of bodily beauty in art. His love of beauty for its own sake, and his long and careful studies of the anatomy and Renaissance old masters, have led to large and impressive life-like figure paintings which are the primary focus of the exhibition.”

 

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Exhibiting

I don’t exhibit my  picture very often, so when our local art group had a print exhibition it was an opportunity to put some of my photo art in, I had a lot of kind remarks and interest into how they had been made, but no sales. I  have always made pictures for me so it was not really surprising. They have moved on to be exhibited in the local Swan Hotel so you never know they might catch someone’s eye there.

Skies

This term at my art group we have been looking up at the skies, trying lots of different  media, pastels acrylics watercolour mono printing and lots more.

We started sky diaries looking up everyday from the same viewpoint well worth doing just to appreciate the changing skies.

 

Daily sketch

Started this year with a little pledge to sketch a face everyday, things started well but finding a few hours  each day to sketch is not that easy, still I have  started to gather a book full of faces and any practice has got to be good practice, even if its not everyday.

 

Cutout

Looking at negative and positive space, in my art group last term , I had to have a go at a cutout, loads of respect to the artist creating cutout, this took me about 4 hours and it’s not that complicated.

Value Line Texture Form Colour Space

 

Last term my art group looked at the 6 elements of art, how they are used and how they work together in art, we all took different motifs to illustrate them, some good learning  to think about when making art.

Recycled

Tried reusing one of my old canvas boards, by  painting on a couple of layers of gesso, it covered the original ok and seemed to give a ok surface, but painting on it was like painting on gritty sandpaper, so not the way to go for future recycling.

Thanks to  Iain McKell for his reference picture of modern Gypsies.

Some images stick

Back in 2009 I started to follow Benoit Paille on flickr I was inspired by his portrait photography , although it seems miles away from his current work the pictures stuck in my head.

I have used his photograph “girl in a subway” for referance in my latest attempted at a painting, this is water based oils on canvas board and I have included some of my process pictures, to see how my process changes as I progress with my painting.

 

 

 

 

Senses

I have been working on and off my senses project painting over the summer, started with a few sketches my first attempt didn’t  really work, inspired by my visit to Upfest and all the wonderful urban paintings I had another go, this seams to happen a lot with my pictures, anyways its about done now.

Spent some time working out how to paint some of the elements, its been a good learning picture.

 

Stop to sketch

Up to now I have never made time to sketch while on holiday , this year I set out to change that making a little time to stop and sketch.

After you get over the strangeness of getting your sketchbook out in public, making time to sketch and not to just grab photographs, makes you more aware of the place even if it’s not always captured in the sketches.

Got to get into the habit of doing this more as it’s more personal record of the places you visit, I am sure they will help me remember if I want to make paintings later.