Another term at artclass and we have been looking at art inspired by circus, had some great fun working with vintage photographs and some rapid scribbling, trying to create the energy of circus clowns.
Took myself down to London to see the BP Portrait Awards at the National Portrait Gallery and the Summer exhibition at the Royal Academy, more of that in another post.
I always find this exhibition an inspiration and a illustration of just how much there is to learn. I don’t think I will ever get there but you need to look at the work of others to improve, I took time to study hair and the boundaries between subjects and background. I am not sure I am any wiser.
Some tremendous hyperrealism paintings, you have to wonder at the skillset to produce this work, I always wonder if I am blown away by the technique or the subject.
I think everyone has their own winner and the picture that engaged me the most by its presence in the room and the clever use of a highlight on her ring constantly pulling your eye from her face was Gaela Erwins Portrait of Neema Tambo.
Took me a while to ask my friend from my art class if she would be my subject, I was pleased I did as she was more than helpful, I shared my ideas with her and we took some pictures for me to work from.
My approach is to start with some sketches and then moved on to painting, this works better than diving straight on in with the paint and gives you time to understand the subject.
I found using acrylic to ground your canvas is quick but I found the oil paint went on better when the oil under painting had been done, I probably won’t start with acrylic next time. also tried a black acrylic paint pen for my drawing, it was good that it didn’t vanish but it took some painting out.
I struggled to paint her hair, it’s one thing I really don’t have a good approach to, this time after a couple of goes I tried under painting the shapes and tones, when this was dry I used a rigger brush to add detail, this seams to have worked out ok, something to explore more.
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.
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.”