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Seeing the Bigger Picture exhibition by David Hockney has had some kind of a magical, maybe even spiritual influence over me. I think essentially the scale of his work (meaning both the actual size and the scale as in quantity) can’t help but silence you into a little bit of awe-struck appreciation.
Then there is such passion, committment and technical ability evident that you can’t help be amazed. His energy belies his age (he is 74 years) and whenever I’ve heard Hockney talk or I’ve read his views, he has always struck me as a very down-to-earth man despite his fame and fortune; the kind of man you could chat to over a beer or a pot of tea. He comes across as the sort of man who wouldn’t make you feel small but would challenge you never-the-less to think differently and keep on thinking. Only a man with that kind of attitude could have embarked upon an exhibition like this and achieved it.
We chose to take the audio tour (which I’d highly recommend) and there are a few sound-bites on it of Hockney talking about his work. His primary challenge to himself was to observe and really see, the changing of surrounding landscape scenery through the seasons.
I found it really touching that this amiable man who is such a great artist, would choose to say that nature was beautiful and elevate it to a greater status simply by observing and recording it; beauty in the ordinary. And many of these scenes were just little everyday places in the local Yorkshire area of Bridlington, not famous tourist spots.
And then there was the colour. And this really awed me because I have just never seen so many colours in use, so many colours blended and contrasted on one piece even.
And so many times I saw a certain colour contrasted with another and thought to myself ‘Yes, that is SO right.’ Beautiful splodges, impressionist style layering, pastels and saturated colours all playing together, dabs, streaks, scratching, thin watery paint, tints and tones of every hue.
You can see that Hockney has brought a little of the L.A. sunshine to some works and Yorkshire looks bathed in a golden hue.
Other paintings look reminiscent of Matisse or The Fauves and Van Gogh features distinctly. Hockney is an artist still very open to influences old (past artists) or new (technology.) It’s refreshing that someone of his ability and standing is still open to learning.
He challenges the idea that we see a landscape from a single viewpoint. The Western idea is that you see through a window, whilst the Chinese idea is that you move through and it is the latter that Hockney explores in this exhibition. Some paintings read like a road map of a journey taken, more a record of a memory than an actual representation. And this is another idea that he plays with; painting from memory and painting from observation; repeatedly.
“Everything begins with the sketchbooks” was my favourite quote from the audio tour. His drawings in charcoal and pencil are astounding and his sketchbooks range from the highly detailed to the gestural.
I really could just go on and on and I haven’t even mentioned the jaw-dropping i-pad pictures!
This exhibition was uplifting to me because it connected the human spirit so successfully to nature, showing all the beauty and change that nature is constantly showing us if only we can slow down enough to observe it.
‘ anyone can do this too, you don’t need to come to Yorkshire, anyone can start in their own back garden. And if they did…well that would be thrilling.’
Hockney is encouraging us too, to paint. His body of work is just one way of seeing nature and he is affirming us to persue painting nature ourselves and trying to see and record the beauty in the ordinary which surrounds us.
Last night was the private view of the Contemporary Watercolour Competition at the Royal Watercolour Society at Bankside, London. We arrived late afternoon to a gorgeous riverside sunset (that’s St Paul’s in the background there) and walked along the south bank of the Thames.
It’s like a culture corridor with the Festival Hall, National Theatre and Tate Modern all along side the river path and mixed in with the coolest skate park in a graffittied concrete underpass and even a Bollywood movie being prepped for filming. But how cool is that Airstream cafe above?
The private view was really well attended but as we arrived really early we got a chance to take some photo’s of Tea Table in situ.
There was an enormous variety of work on show from the very transparent to the very opaque, the gesteral to the photo realistic, the experimental to the very accurate. It was so heart warming to see that there really is a place for everyone to create and so amazing that no two artists, who paint from their hearts, ever make the same painting.
Tea Table got a nice central place on the wall – thank you very muchly.
The RWS selection really did support its aim to “encourage innovation and experimentation in watercolour painting, spanning work on paper in watercolour, acrylic, gouache, pen & ink and watercolour mixed media.” I was impressed by how forward thinking an organisation it seems to be whilst still valuing the roots and history of traditional watercolour painting.
It was a great night made all the more so by its glamorous capital city location. I feel very grateful for the opportunity and can’t wait to get stuck into some more painting again soon inspired by being amongst such stimulating artistry.
Pinterest have quietly responded to the copyright uproar by releasing a piece of code that you can put into you header . This should issue a warning to the pinner reminding them that they do not have permission. Don’t know if it works yet.
This is the code:
<meta name=”pinterest” content=”nopin” />
Like lots of people I have been delighted by the opportunities that Pinterest offers. And like lots of people I imagine, I opened an account without really reading the small print and got pinning away to my heart’s content in complete oblivion. However there has been a lot of online discussion about this site of late and the issues surrounding copyright.
knitsofacto has a great article here but I too feel like I want to say something about it which won’t necessarily add to the debate (might widen the audience possibly) but to outline my expectations of people who may be pinning me. It is worth reading this article whether you feel you have the time to or not, whether you’re a just a pinner or an artist and pinner, or just an artist.
What I didn’t know even though I have ticked ‘read terms and conditions’ was that if I pin an image onto one of my boards it is agreed that I either own the copyright or have asked for permission.
If you pin something Pinterest is assuming that you have asked permission or own the copyright because that’s what you agreed when you signed up.
If you pin something of mine onto one of your boards, it assumes that you own the copyright (which of course you don’t) or that you have asked my permission (which no-one ever has.)
First then the log in my own eye before I pick at the splinters in others. I apologise to anyone whose image I may have pinned onto one of my boards without asking for permission and please be reassured that I am making it a priority to tidy up those boards by removing anything which compromises your copyright on your image or work, and to properly credit the source of the image or article.
Lazy pinning means that we often just re-pin images from where we saw them, not from their original source. This means that proper credit gets lost amongst all the re-pinning.
Here’s the scarier bit…
By making available any Member Content through the Site, Application or Services, you hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, *modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services.”
This means that by pinning others work, or by pinning mine, we are giving Cold Brew Labs (the company behind Pinterest) the right to store that image (full size!) on their own servers for ever, for future use should they wish to use it and profit it from it.
Some may say ‘Oh no-one will ever let that happen, it’s an enormous global copyright scandal and won’t be allowed’ and I imagine, and hope that, that will be the case as lawyers argue the fine points.
But I am going to do what I can now to make sure that my work is not compromised by asking you not to pin my work to a Pinterest board. You could open a Word document and drag an image into it and save it as inspiration or reference that way (like I used to before Pinterest and will be returning to now.)
I’m going to use this as an opportunity to use my sketchbook more effectively and instead of pinning things that inspire me, I’m going to try to draw, record and write from the screen straight into my sketchbook.
Mostly the internet offers us opportunities that could never have been explored before and sometimes we run like lemmings over the cliff believing that every global web-site that’s well designed, is well-designed for our benefit. And sometimes it isn’t as straightforward as that. Time to think again perhaps?
You may notice I have amended my copyright statement now.
Just popping in tonight to say a massive thank you for all your messages of support, excitement and affirmation. It really means a lot. Merci. x
I have been dreaming about writing this kind of a blog post for about three years and I have been actually trying to write the words for the last six or seven weeks; from about the time when I gave my resignation in at work.
Yes, you read correctly! I have, after a long period of time thinking about it, decided to give myself fully to developing my art career and so have resigned from my teaching job. On Monday I go back to school for the last seven weeks of part-time employment. Then I will do one day a week until the summer term ends in order to train my replacement. Then I am a self-employed artist (excited… yikes!)
I used to visual journal quite a lot when I’d read some fabulous quote from this book. Now when I look through it I can see how I have been moving towards this moment for many years. Can’t say I’m not a little scared, can’t say I won’t miss the children at school or the laughs in the staffroom but I am looking forward to having just one job to pursue with total vigour, energy and single-mindedness. When I graduated from art college back in 1990 I quite quickly got off the artistic route and eventually began a teaching training course instead. In many ways this feels like I have come full circle and I’m very grateful to get the opportunity to try and pick up that artistic route again.
I have been re-training and updating my pattern design skills so that I will have two strings to my bow and am hopeful that with more time to paint, pattern design and approach galleries that I will be able to establish a small living from my art.
Only one thing is certain at this stage and that is ‘if you don’t try, you never know’ and I know for sure that if I don’t ever give it a go I will regret not trying. Fingers crossed.
Just after Christmas I had an email arrive letting me know about a couple of Open shows that I would otherwise have missed.
This is a competition organised by The Royal Watercolour Society to celebrate watercolour as a vibrant medium (this includes a range of water-soluble media: watercolour, acrylic and gouache) and I felt my work suited that brief really well and so entered three pieces of which Tea Table was chosen.
What I didn’t realise at the time was that The Royal Watercolour Society is the oldest watercolour society in the world and is second only to the Royal Academy of Art in importance as an art society. Nor that the show would be in Bankside Gallery, a stone’s throw from the Tate Modern.
I have a lot to be grateful for right now. Train tickets are booked. Outfit planning is in hand. Worrying can begin next week as there are prizes being awarded !
If you fancy seeing the show yourself it runs from 4th February – 14th March 2012 at the Bankside Gallery (and of course book your tickets to Hockney too!)
If you’ve read my blog for any time then you’ll know that every once in a while I love to have a day in London for a cultural fix and a bit of capital city hustle and bustle.
We began at Jamie Olivier’s new venture Union Jacks. Very quirky food here – it is basically a pizza restaurant but they don’t serve pizza. They call them flatbread’s and top them with strange things! Pork belly, horseradish, watercress… I had mushroom and it was nice. Lovely interior too.
We walked miles gathering up the unselected paintings from the Royal Watercolour Society, shopping and having tea.
Many thanks for your suggestions of places to hunt out in London. We couldn’t fit them all in yesterday ( www.lechandelier.co.uk is a definite for sometime in the near future – it looks gorgeous) but we did find Chloe’s (slightlytriangle.co.uk) suggestions.
First was a bookbinding shop called Shepherds Falkiners which was packed to the rafters of beautiful handmade printed and marbled papers and enticingly covered notebooks and boxes. It had a gentle old world feel to it and I was amazed by what a world of specialism lay with the humble object of paper – books and books of samples. I made it out having spent only £6 on a beautiful piece of Japanese paper which I intend to use for a painting background. The hardest part was keeping it from being crushed on the London Underground.
Then a short walk around the corner was another of Chloe’s recommendations; an art shop called Cornelissen.
This was another piece of old world London (although the stock is bang up-to-date.) It still has the original interior fixtures complete with creaky floorboards.
The staff were really helpful and enthusiastic, I was entranced by all the glass jars of bright pigment powders and nearly came out all set up to make my own paint. Heavens, I already have enough to do!
And then more food was required (and a long sit down to rest the blisters) before we very excitedly scurried across the road to The Royal Academy where the Hockney exhibition was.
What words will suffice? It was so inspiring, uplifting, impressive, a feast of colour, visually stunning…. So much to say about it that I think it will deserve it’s own post later in the week.
For the past three weeks I have been sitting at the computer pattern designing (can’t show you as I want to keep it for my portfolio.) Lots of fun until my ideas about layering and rotating and duplicating images meant that my old Mac’s processor couldn’t keep up with me. One day I sat for 15 mins waiting for my design to move half a centimetre down the design page. Not fun anymore.
So having felt like Rapunzel stuck in the technology tower, I decided to cut free yesterday and not even switch the thing on at all, all day. Instead I emptied the drawer of ‘nice things that never get used’ and used them.
It’s always good to reconnect creatively with yourself and get messy with glue and paint. That and a new audiobook; IQ84, and I feel a little more soulful today.
A trip to the Apple store has been booked and the mama of all machines is coming my way (knuckle biting excitement.) Then no doubt I’ll go full circle all over again.
‘Every cloud has a silver lining’ as they say. My two paintings (Bellis and Blossom) made their journey to London after being pre-selected on-line but were not selected for the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 2012 exhibition. Hey ho.
But I’m seeing the bigger picture, literally. As I have to go and collect them I booked tickets to see Hockney’s A Bigger Picture exhibition and I’m beyond excited about that.
We will need to kill time as our tickets are early evening ones so any ideas of things to do, places to go, wonderful shops that must be visited that will help us while away some hours? I feel like it’s time I broadened my triangle of London love from Liberty, Anthropologie and Designers Guild so some new recommendations would be interesting to try.