I just can’t resist the aesthetic of abandoned buildings. Yes, I know it’s a photographic cliche but there was something about this particular building that caught my attention. This was a house that had surrendered to the inevitable, engulfed by weeds and brambles and sinking beneath a tidal wave of vegetation, yet somehow it remained stoic and dignified. A personification of managed decline and acceptance in stone and slate.
For the photographers amongst you, I agree, I should have used a graduated filter or at least bracketed the exposure for the sky. On the plus side, the bleached out sky emphasises the symmetry and shape of the house.
Gyles’ Quay is an isolated stretch of beach located 1 km south of the R173/R175 road on the Cooley Peninsula in the north of County Louth in Ireland. It was named after Ross Gyles who built a wood structure there in 1780. It was later rebuilt in stone in 1824 and survives to this day.
These photographs were taken yesterday at The Locker Cafe in Cambridge. The exhibition of paintings and photography runs from 19th July – 19th August. If you are in town do come along and take a look. The Locker art cafe is located at 54 King Street, just opposite Tindalls art supplies.
This is an experimental painting on canvas using tar, oil paint and cold wax medium. Just recently, I have been trying to include more elements of drawing in my work, allowing the hand to make incisions without consciously controlling or dictating the final outcome. I guess I am attempting to eliminate myself from the process, to achieve a sense of originality and inevitability about the marks, undoubtedly a foolhardy enterprise. How can it be possible to draw without prior awareness of drawing? I recall the ‘blind drawing’ exercises we worked on in art classes; they often produced surprising and unexpected results. However, many of the students never quite grasped the purpose of these techniques and often felt they were creating interesting but more or less random ‘drawings’ lacking in observational skill.
How as an artist do you suppress and override all those aspects of knowledge surrounding line and form that we acquire over years of practice? The lyrical and poetic qualities of line become part of our skill set, our DNA, the sweep of the arm, the motion of the wrist; curves and contours, all the motor skills associated with looking and recording though drawing become ingrained and established.
I intend to explore and discuss this aspect of drawing further in the next few posts. I’ll be looking at the use of unconventional drawing implements and the significance of the material we choose to work with.
I have been looking through some old hard drives and came across a set of images from a visit to Hong Kong. This was taken in 2006 with a Canon 40D and 50mm f1.8 lens. Hong Kong is a very exciting city and nothing short of paradise for a street photographer. I’ll keep checking through the various files and folders and see what else I have in storage.
The late afternoon sun transforms an ordinary scene. Windows and doorways become dark rectangular shapes and intense sunlight reflects from plaster walls. In these images of geometry and order I see echoes of the surrealist Magritte, the mysterious city streets of the Italian artist Giorgio De Chirico and the cool detachment of the American painter, Joseph Albers.
For those of you also interested in the technical aspects of photography this image was taken on a Fuji X100s using the excellent Fuji Acros film simulation setting.
Please feel free to share your own thoughts and ideas.
River City is a mixed media acrylic painting on a canvas frame. It belongs to a series of paintings loosely based on the city of Cambridge. We can never really know a particular place or location, not in a purely visual sense, not even through the so called objectivity objectivity of the camera lens. There are so many different ways of seeing, understanding and interpreting; our view of the world is a subjective, personal experience. It changes as we change. The Cubists new a thing or two about perception.
I developed this painting through an exchange of ideas, thoughts and materials, you could call it a dialogue. What you see here is the result of many ‘conversations’, a constant give and take between what I think I have to say as a painter and what the painting says to me. A painting will invariably contradict me and tell me I am mistaken, on the wrong track. Sometimes, I delude myself into thinking I am in charge but I know my place; ‘painting’ is a collaboration, a combined effort, an ongoing debate. What you see here is a partnership between planning and accident, conceit and humility, confidence and deflation, wisdom and foolishness, seeing and not seeing.
If you are visiting Ely in Cambridgeshire do come along to the Old Fire Engine House to see an exhibition of recent paintings by myself, Paul Janssens and Caroline Foward. The exhibition is called EXPLORE and the preview night is on the 3rd October, 6 – 8pm. We would love to see you there.
Returning from the Norfolk Coast on the Southery Road there is an isolated, abandoned farmhouse. It is beautiful in its simplicity and architectural understatement.