Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The advantages of knife painting.

In the last six months I have been experimenting with painting using painting knives. These are not palette knives, but similar but with thin blades in a variety of shapes and sizes.

I have come to the conclusion that this way of painting has for me at least some advantages over conventional brush painting.

Firstly, no tedious cleaning of brushes is needed. A quick wipe with a cloth and your knife is virgin clean. Secondly surprisingly I have found it cleaner. Except for my hands, which I normally cover in pvc  gloves, I get very little mess,and no spills on my clothes. Wearing an apron helps. I also find mixing on my palette easier. The biggest advantage however is that I find it a more expressive way of painting. One can put the paint on smoothly or with expressive strokes. Thickly or thinly. Impasto is much easier .

The main disadvantage is that one uses a LOT more paint. This leads one to the question that should one use cheaper paints.

Here are a few examples of paintings that I have done using knives. I would be pleased to receive any comments on this subject.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Sotheby's Auctions

This morning I visited Sotheby's Auction house in Bond Street, to see the pre-auction viewing of the paintings to be sold at their auctions later this week. Needless to say it was a fabulous exhibition. For free you get a chance to see works which will possibly never be seen again on public exhibition.

The highlights  in the Impressionist and Modern section were paintings by Matisse " The Piano Lesson"  and Picasso "A Womans Head"

In the contemporary part of the auction the main feature was this Hans Richter "  Abstrackte Bild 1990"

There were many other fine paintings on exhibition and here are a few samples, taken with my phone, so not particularly good reproductions.

Monet " Windmill"

Pissaro "Le Hermiatge Pontoise"

Sonia Delaunay "Design"

Morandi "Still Life"

Chagall " The Marrieds with two Bouquets"

Joseph Albers " Homage to the Square"

Maximilien Luce "The Locomotive"

Le Sidanier " le Maison Blanche"

Boudin "Deauville"

De Stael " Paving Stones"

Kees VanDongen  "Lilys and Tulips"

I hope that this will give you some idea of the wide scope of this exhibition. 

Just one other item. Picasso's Palette 

Friday, 29 January 2016

Painting Gardens at The Royal Academy.

We went to the private members view of this exhibition yesterday, and would say that this is one exhibition that you should not miss !

Monet was without doubt the star of the exhibition and the most featured artist. As the exhibition covered his lifetime, no modern painters were featured.

We started with two early paintings, one by Monet and the other by his great friend Renoir. These were painted before they started  exploring their "new" method of painting which became known as Impressionism, and were typical academic flower still lifes of the period.

From there we quickly jumped to the Impressionist paintings, with many examples of Monet's work,

a few Pissaro's and others of his contemporaries, but much to my surprise only one other Renoir and a solitary Manet.No examples of Sisley and only a couple of Cezanne's.

We then jumped to garden painters from outside France. I was rather disappointed in the works by Sorolla, who has a very high reputation in the USA, except for his portrit of Tiffany. The works on show by Singer-Sargent were also rather disappointing, again with only a couple of his better paintings. A lot of space was dedicated to Max Liebermann, who was a very keen gardener. Personally I found his work rather uninspired, as was the works on show by a few Scandinavian artist.

We eventually got onto the works of the Post-impressionists, where unfortunately some of the poorest paintings in the show were shown. Two works by Matisse, one by Van Gogh and one by Raoul Dufy, were amongst the worst of their works that I have ever seen exhibited, and all three are amongst my all time favourite painters. They were redeemed to a great extent by the vibrant paintings of Emile Nolde and the interesting early abstracts of Kandinsky. Again I am sure a better example of Klint's garden painting could have been found.

The next room was mainly dedicated to Bonnard and Vuillard, neither of whom I really admire, but they still were showing some rather nice paintings.

Then came the high points of the exhibition. Monet's later years at Giverny.  Superb painting after superb painting . This room was an absolute delight, which was only surpassed by the final  room which was filled by the triptych of huge water lily paintings  which had been split up between various galleries, but here were brought together for the first time, since they were sold. To me these paintings were overwhelming. I could have spent far longer looking at them then I was able to. They are to my mind amongst the greatest paintings ever painted and an inspiration to all those who have followed.

One small note . I was very surprised that there was nothing on show by his very talented step-

daughter, Blanche.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Auerbach or Not.

Today I visited the Frank Auerbach exhibition at Tate Britain.  I have never been a great fan of his, thinking him rather over rated. However this exhibition has changed my mind.

Seeing his paintings in roughly chronological order in an un-crowded space and without other paintings to distract one, you could appreciate what a good painter he is. I would say " a painter's painter". Being able to stand back and really view his work one could appreciate how skilful his use of paint is. A few lines delineate forms and shapes, which close up look rather a mess, but standing back one can see how he built up his paintings very cleverly and with a lot of thought. He is very unconventional, and on a casual look appears to be very abstract, but looking for longer one can see how he develops the painting so that it becomes a recognisable landscape or portrait.

I prefer his landscapes to his portraits,and his later works to his rather heavily painted early works. but they are very powerful
t would be nice to have seen one or two photos of his models. His drawings do give you some idea of how he developed his paintings.

I wondered if he ever did any still lifes. If so it would have been interesting to see them.

All in all I really enjoyed this exhibition, and it made me see Auerbach through new eyes. Highly recommended particularly if you are a painter.


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

An attempt at Abstraction.

I have tried  a few times in the past to get into abstract paintings, and have even attended two courses on the subject, but without great success. It is geometric abstraction that attracts me. Typical exponents being Mondrian, Rothko, Newman and Bridget Riley. However with out just trying to emulate their styles, so I was looking for a slightly different approach. Looking at books on bookshelves and the ways they can be stacked in many ways, I came up with the idea of a series of paintings using book shaped objects piled in different ways and in varying colour patterns. I have done a few paintings using this idea and here are some samples. All are done in oils on very heavy paper.

 This was my first attempt, using a mixture of primaries and secondaries.

The next attempt was influenced by me having Miles Davis recording Kind of Blue playing in the background.

I next tried a combination of yellow and blue primaries and their complimentary green.

As a contrast my next constructionused red and yellow and their complimentary orange in a more complicated arrangement

I thought I would then attempt a more fresh approach using a knife instead of a brush , thinking it would be more free in its expression.

My next attempt  ended up having the shapes on their sides in stead of verically as all my previous works had been. Of course you could always turn the painting so that they would be vertical.
 I then attempted a much more complicated set up, with the objects arranged on different planes.

My final attempt in some ways completed the circle returning to a straight vertical layout, but again using a knife instead of brushes.

 I would very much like to read any ones views, comments or criticsms of these paintings. I'm not sure if I will continue the series, but I probably will in the near future.

Friday, 14 August 2015

ARTFINDER: Kind of Blue by Bernard Victor - A modern semi-abstract painting of some book sh...

ARTFINDER: Kind of Blue by Bernard Victor - A modern semi-abstract painting of some book sh...

 This painting is the second in a series of paintings based loosely on books.

I have always been interested in the inter-action of still life objects to each other and the ways that colours interact.

The title reflects my inspiration by the MIles Davis album of that name.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

A slightly new approach.

I have always liked a minimalist  style of paintings, and have long admired the works of Mary Fedden and Elisabeth Blackadder, More recently I got to know of the work of William Scott, which I really liked. My late mentor, Bernard Myers, also painted in a minimalist style, and needless to say I have always been influenced by his work.

Recently I have been inspired to do the following paintings. They all portray familiar objects that I have  around plus fruit and vegetables. I am interested in exploring their shapes and the relationships between the objects, against plain backgrounds.

Blue table,vases, flowers and oranges (oils on canvas)

yellow table, flowers and fruit (oil pastels on paper)

Vase, flowers and fruit (oil pastels on paper)

Coffee pot and cup (oil pastels on paper)

Two vases (oil pastels on paper)

I feel that I can explore these themes in greater depth, and possibly explore a similar approach to landscapes.


Saturday, 31 January 2015

Some different boat paintings

I thought I would try painting some different styles of boats than those seen around UK waters, so here are a few attempts in watercolour and ink.

A Chinese Junk

Three Arab Dhows on the Nile.

Three more Arab Dhows

  Amundsen's Boat on it's voyage through the North-west Passage.

This last one is based on photos of Amundsen's boat as it is in a Norwegian museum.