Friday, 29 December 2017

Influences, and inspiration

Ever since I was a boy and able to think  I have loved images, they excite me and i have spent my life pouring over countless painted images, most of them exhilarating and have made a lasting impression. I am a figurative painter and have always enjoyed using the figure to make my images. I was so enthused with ideas of how and why painting the figure was important to me that as a small boy I began my painting career.  As a boy my influences came from hundreds painters both living and passed. I was, and still enthralled with the old masters such as Rubens and Velasquez. William Blake and Botticelli where among some of the pictures on my wall as a teenager. There are obviously hundreds more painted images that are far too many to mention here as are the thousands of images that have not been painted, images observed in everyday life that capture the imagination or envelop your senses with their beauty, and nature, well she is the master of all artists.

                                                                 Botticelli. Primavera (1482)

       William Blake. Nebucanesa

18th and 19th century painters such as the German expressionists, and in particular the Austrian painter Oscar Kokoschka, Soutine, and Ensor where also highly influential. I enjoyed their coloration their satire , and the deformity of the figures, deconstruction was also extremely informative. I adore van gogh, his unique way of painting is just amazing and highly influential, as was Paul Gaughan for his flat planes of color. The french impressionists where a great influence Particularly Georges Seurat's  A Sunday on La Grande Jatte 1884.

                                          Georges seurat. A Sunday on La Grande Jatte 1884 

                                                 Oskar Kokoschka hans Tietze and Erica Tietze (1909)

                                            Ensor’s 19th century paintings of Dutch bourgeoisie

                                      Soutine. Brofransson:Young Girl in Pink Chaise 1924

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Nudes standing by the stove 1908

Paul Gughan Cristo giallo 1889

                                                   Van Gogh Self portrait as a painter 1888

Picasso is an obvious choice for me as he revolutionized figurative painting and when I first came across his work as a boy I was mesmerized as I had never seen anything like it before. He stretched the boundaries and made it possible for future generations of painters to truly open their minds to what could be possible in figurative painting.

Picasso. Les Demoiselles d Avignon 1907

 Of the contemporary figurative  painters That  have inspired me today I would include three particular painters, Rose Wylie and Dana Schulz and David Hockney. All have captured my imagination.

     David Hockney.The group XI.  2014

                                                             Dana Schulz. Poke 2010

     Rose Wylie. PVC Windows and Floorboards 2012

And so where do I set my own work?. At the  time of writing I have come to the conclusion that being true to yourself is the most important. I remain a figurative painter, I am an observer and  painter of the human condition and so I am obliged to include people in my work. The quandary is within the way this is accomplished. I enjoy the making of a painting, the ideas, however there is a current favor generally for the unmade, the idea that you begin with nothing, a totally arbitrary and by chance, letting the actions and emotions take precedence over the idea of making the work. However radical Dana Schulz and Rose Wylie appear to be, their work is mostly contrived, they start with something and an idea appears Rose Wylie draws straight onto the surface being inspired by found images in newspapers and observations on the television. Dana Schulz plans her work has an idea and formulates a plan to conceive the final image she draws  before the painting In any case drawing is fundamental to their painting. One could write a book, and many have, on what actually constitutes the act of drawing. I believe my work is somewhere between Hockney,Wylie and Schulz stylistically, I too utilize under drawing as a plan for my ideas. Unlike Wylie who draws directly onto the support with the final paint. As far as the rendering of the figures is concerned, at the present time,  I choose to draw semi proportionate (anatomically correct) figures, there is only a slight indication of deconstruction or exaggeration of limbs. At the present time I like to keep the under drawing as integral part of the work  and leave some areas with no paint. My coloration is rich like shulz tonally arranged to create dynamism and impact, my colors are flat, but I allow them to make form. If you look at The Hockney figures above you see he has some areas that are flat(no modelling) and some with the seated figure for example, there is a different tone of blue to indicate the shadow produced by the bend in the knees. In Schulz work the the man figures shirt still indicates some modelling with colour. Wylie almost never indicates using color as modelling, however you notice in the work abovethe seated woman in the dark blue dress has a blue shadow behind her. Line in Wylies work is fragmented and sketchy in places there is no uniformity some figures  are given drawn outlines  some have none. Wylies work has been considered naive by some critics and some have called them childlike and not unlike cartoons: I enjoy the work personally, and in a lot of ways illustrates what Picasso always wanted to aspire to in ' painting like a child' "It took me four years to paint like Raphael and a life time to paint like a child" At wylie's great age of 80 maybe there is some truth and merit in living a long time as a painter, maybe to paint like a child  is the obvious conclusion . I am 49 and relatively young, I have gone through years of development, I have covered most styles in my search for a definitive original style, everything from photo realism to total abstraction. My current work is an amagamation of all my influences and painters from history and the present day continue to inform and influence my practice, what I will be painting if and when I reach 80 years time only knows, I continue to be informed and express myself to the best of my ability.

Top. Oil and Acrylic on panel 2017