Matisse was a great breakthrough artist. He was bold and daring and taught us to break the bounds of old conventional art. He realized that perspective was a way to create a fake depth, he threw it out. Painting is two dimensional so there is no need to try and make a fake depth. He used colour to bring the surface alive. There is always a new approach to painting, lets keep digging. Here is the great master from from behind.
I have two grand children. Ruby 13 Oliver 10. I often had to pick them up from school when they were younger. I call them the G-Kids. I would bring them back to the studio, give them material and let them go to work. Kids are just plain creative. There is no teaching them art. If anything we learn from them.
One time with a hot glue gun they built rocket ships out of old paper towel and toilet paper tubes. They built a space center and would send them candy in space supply ships. They even built supply stores in space. Here is a painting of them working in space with their Grand-Pa trying to keep up with them.
D-Day. A day to remember. I had returned to London after having been evacuated to Scotland for two years. I was twelve and had a little gang of friends I played with. I had bought a bunch of brass stars one could clip to their lapels. As a boy joined they got a star. We played war games in a field next to the Great North Rd.
In early June of 1944 war material began to move south down the Great North Rd. We ceased our war games and began to watch the real thing unfold. There were planes with folded wings on huge trailer beds, tanks with big white stars trucks, and aircraft guns. There was all forms of war machinery. It all moved very slowly. Slow enough for us to jump up on the trucks and shout out ” Any gum chum” to the troops. They would toss us gum and candy, very precious stuff as we were rationed sweets. Over head great waves of bombers flew in formation, very high leaving trails. We would lay on our backs when they returned counting the missing. If a plane had been shot down the formation left an empty place. There were many empty spots. Then they would be followed by the strugglers. Pieces of tail or wing missing or trailing smoke. Flying low.They were so brave.
I had witnessed the beginning of the end of the war. From the same fields I saw a Spitfire come down, it went low over some houses and disappeared from sight. Years later I was in the RAF. The Korean war was going full blast but I was lucky enough only to join an occupation force in Germany. D Day. is certainly a day to remember. Also all the people who made it possible, especially those guys who gave us chewing gum
Lets enjoy the warm weather. In my younger days you could not keep me out of the water. In 1939 my Dad had an allotment next to Dollis Brook. I spent days catching sticklebacks and studying frog spawn. In Scotland as an evacuee living on Lord and Lady Weirs estate in the chauffer’s quarters. I swam, fished and frolicked, wrestling with eels and frogs in the Bonnie Doon . In London I lived near a huge open air pool. The water was freezing but I braved it. In Maine where I had a house by the sea but spent so many days and nights swimming in Boyden lake, the sea was too cold. In the winters from 1971 to 1973 I spent in St Barths FWI. There I sailed and swam to my hearts content. In the summers of late 1950’s through 1960 I splashed around in the bay of Provincetown. In the years of 1962-64 I enjoyed the Mediterranean waters of Ibiza. Ah! Summer. Let it begin. So, let summer begin and the swimming enjoyed.
I read a book review recently in the NY Times about The art of Edvard Munch by Karl Ove Knausgaard. Well known for his painting ” The scream “The article is not so much about “The scream” but about the language of painting and the muteness of it. How a painting can emit emotions that are hard to describe or translate.
As a painter I under stand how Karl Ove Knausgaard author of ” So much longing in so little space” that it is difficult to put into words the feelings a painting can emit. For many painters painting is a format by which they can build on a familiar theme. Take Rothko for instance. This is OK and requires a lot of discipline. However there are painters like myself who allow a painting from the start take us by the hand and lead us through the labyrinth of our minds. There is no format but the shapes and forms stored like dusty bottles of fine wines. Some not so fine.
The painting here ” The echo of a scream” took a lot of hard work and digging. Here is a place painters reach that I often refer to as the “Fourth Dimension” . It is a state of mind where one is not aware of what is going into the painting. It can take minutes or hours and is exhausting. The only way to understand it is to be in that dimension. Not all painters experience it. So it is easy for me to understand where this writer is coming from. It is a language unto it’s own and cannot be translated with ease
Summer is just around the corner. Back into bathing suites splashing in the river Doon strolling beneath the warm summer moon. Chasing fish with reel and rod no school no homework to spoil the evening calm the terrier from her prison breaks to find her lover deep beneath the rhododendron bush making babies making love.
” There was a lover and his Lass with a hey and a ho and a hey noni no. In the Spring time the one and only ring time. When birds do a sing hey ring a ding a ding true lovers love the Spring “
Part of an old English Ballard.
Artists capture the essence of the truth by seeing themselves as the conduit to the canvass. Children not being taught art just draw and paint the way they feel and we don’t question what they do. Later in life most kids give up art. Some go onto art classes, perhaps drawing that can become very disheartening as not many can draw a hand of foot exactly as it looks. A few go on and pursue the arts and become very successful at it.
In a roundabout way I was lucky not to be sent to art school as my brother was . He is now a painter and does mostly landscapes. I did not start painting until I was 24. With no education I was free to express myself. Here I am in the studio . Nothing realistic about this. Just seeing myself focusing on the truth.
Provincetown looms large in my life. It is were the artistic seed planted deep in my mind as a young boy sprouted at the age of twenty four. It taught me how to express myself. I hooked up with other artists such as Pat De Groote, Mimi Gross, Bob Henry, Bob Thompson, Bob Beauchamp, Red Grooms to mention just a few. I learned from all of them. I met collectors Like Walter Chrysler , Jules Fleishman, and Hudson Walker. All collected my art . That was in the late fifties early sixties. I had no schooling. Hans Hoffman had a school but I could not afford it. The best I could do was sit in and listen to critiques. So I develop my own method of approaching a canvass, surprise it. hooking up with other artists such as Tony and Elspeth Vevers , Red grooms, Bob Thompson I watched as they developed. The galleries were full abstract paintings. The people I met were trying to insert the figure back into painting and they were succeeding in doing so.
So Provincetown is where I bloomed and have deep roots in the place. It has gone through many changes but remains a place I often think back on. Art is the essence of life.
T’was in the merry month of may when green buds were a swelling.
From an old English song. Wont be long now till those words ring true. We will be surrounded by the buzz of bees and the smell of trees. The sap is rising to bring us joy.