My August painting trip to Russia
I managed to get back into my painting while in Russia. Travelled out to the Russian countryside to stay at a family member's country garden and house, called Dachas. Concentrated on doing quick watercolour sketches. I was lucky to find to major art exhibitions on during my visit, Moscow. One was bringing together work from a early collector of modern European art, his name Sergei Shchukin. He was collecting works by such artists and Van Gogh, Gaugin, Matisse and Picasso.
Also a major exhibition on the 20th century Russian artists Ilye Repin. This artist is worth looking up and researching, largely unknown in the west.
Once we resume the art classes, our next exhibition will be fast approaching. This is your opportunity to display and hopefully sell a painting! Never be put off from exhibiting your work. Your paintings are transformed once mounted and framed. And we artists are usually reluctant to exhibit, because we often think our work isn't good enough! A mistake. By exhibiting your paintings you will see them differently and you will often receive feedback from the public, which is invaluable for considering future work.
You may want to take on a project over next couple of months?
For Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, painted in 1907, was a radical break from traditional composition and perspective in painting. It depicts five naked women with figures composed of flat, splintered planes and faces inspired by Iberian sculpture and African masks. The compressed space the figures inhabit appears to project forward in jagged shards; a fiercely pointed slice of melon in the still life of fruit at the bottom of the composition teeters on an impossibly upturned tabletop. Picasso unveiled the monumental painting in his Paris studio after months of revision. The Avignon of the work’s title is a reference to a street in Barcelona famed for its brothel. In Picasso’s preparatory studies for the work, the figure at the left was a man, but the artist eliminated this anecdotal detail in the final painting.
This painting was greeted with horror when Picasso showed it to his friends in Paris, and this reaction persuaded him to hide it away for many years, 1917, before exhibiting it. It is now regarded as a seminal piece of work, which changed art.
Do your version, update it, or whatever - But don't simply do a copy! We can discuss an approach at the art class. But be prepared to do preparatory work before arriving at your final version.
This painting is another iconic painting and other artists have done versions of this painting. One of the famous versions is where the characters were painted as Humphry Bogart and Marylyn Monroe, with Elvis Presley behind the counter. Edward Hopper was famed for his portrayal of personal isolation and vulnerability, especially in large towns and cities. Once again Hopper spent time on doing preparatory drawings!
Voted Britain's most popular painting
Another iconic painting.
The Fighting Temeraire, tugged to her last berth to be broken up, was painted by Turner in 1838. In a poll organised by BBC Radio 4's Today programme in 2005, it was voted the nation's favourite painting.
The painting depicts the 98-gun HMS Temeraire, one of the last second-rate ships of the line to have played a distinguished role in the Battle of Trafalgar, being towed by a paddle-wheel steam tug towards its final berth in Rotherhithe in south-east London in 1838 to be broken up for scrap.
The painting hangs in the National Gallery, and many versions of this subject have been painted over the years.
Again, if you choose this one, don't merely copy it. Discuss the idea with other people, members, or myself. Be prepared to work out ideas in a sketch book.
What about a comment on the enviornment today?
Flatford Mill was owned by Constable's father. The house on the left side of the painting belonged to a neighbour, Willy Lott, a tenant farmer who was said to have been born in the house and never to have left it for more than four days in his lifetime. The cottage has survived to this day practically unaltered, but none of the trees in the painting exist today.
For many of us, this painting depicts an idyllic view of England, as we would like to experience now, but life has moved on. You might want to depict how things have changed. Maybe a painting on climate change?
Although The Hay Wain is revered today as one of the greatest British paintings, when it was originally exhibited in 1821 (under the title Landscape: Noon), it failed to find a buyer.
With any of the above, try working semi-abstract? Collage even?
Ben Nicholson, Trendrine 2. Here, there is no window frame and no curtain. The still life objects are grouped together tightly and leaning towards the scene outside. In fact, they could be outside already. The space they occupy is indeterminate – the assumption they are inside is based solely on still life conventions. The objects themselves are moving away from the solid, with volume being merely suggested. Instead, the viewer is presented with a series of outlines superimposed upon the landscape. ‘In such compositions Nicholson was interested in being able to unite objects in the foreground with those in the background, allowing the eye to travel over large distances and periods of time at one glance’.
• His early interest in Modernism led his work to be interpretative and expressionistic, rather than purely representational.
• For Nicholson, treatment of space seemed paramount. He created spatial ambiguity through fusing the different picture planes, and unified them further through use of colour and texture.