Monotony

Here in the UK it feels to most of us that the restrictions and lockdowns are going on and on forever. It can seem as though all the days are merging together and a lot of people are getting rather bored and fed up. So here is my artists take on a few suggestions of things to do to break up your day, inspired by some of my paintings.

The Night Garden

The Night Garden, Dye and acrylic on canvas, 168 x 160 cm

We have had some very varied weather recently, to say the least! So going out in the garden – especially at night – might not be top of your list of activities. But there is always something otherworldy about places at night time. Our gardens, so familiar in the daytime can look completely different after dark. Wrap up in a coat and blanket, take a hot drink and a folding chair, and look at the stars, or watch for animals, or just observe the light from a full moon. It’s not exacly a week in the Algarve, but at this point I’ll take what I can get! This link will take you to a list of more night-time inspired art: https://www.darksky.org/7-pieces-of-art-inspired-by-the-night-sky/

Still Life

Interior With Mirror, Dye and acrylic on canvas, 113 x 100 cm

Create a still life scene. Whether you are an artist or not, drawing from a still life can be a very meditative process. As a painter it is important to keep practicing those observational skills, and drawing or painting everyday objects…… It can also help us to see the mundane from a new perspective and appreciate the small things in life. Don’t worry if you’re not an artist, you can give it a go anyway; it doesn’t need to be a great work of art! Or take a photo if that’s more up your street. There are lots of drawing tutorials doing the rounds online at the moment, but I was quite taken with the photographs taken by a travel photographer in lockdown.

Collage

Calypso, Mixed media on canvas, 163 x 154 cm

The painting above was created using sections of other canvases. So if drawing is really not your thing, but you fance doing something creative, collage can be a very accesible medium, and gives great results. You can use unsuccessful paintings or sketches (perhaps from the previous activity!); old fabrics from torn clothing; magazines, old notebooks or any other bits of paper; anything you can find really. Cut them, or tear them up randomly and arrange the pieces before sticking them down. For inspiration I recommend the great Matisse of course, Kurt Switters, and Anne Ryan.

Window With Landscape

Window with Landscape, Mixed media, 20 x 30 cm

With your new found creative skills, you could try creating an observation from your window. One of the lasting impressions of this time is being inside looking out, and a picture of that view could be an interestig record of this time – because as far off as it may feel right now, one day we will be looking back on this time as a memory! It needn’t be a realistic drawing, the painting above is an abstract interpretation of a view from a window, using the basic shapes and colours as a starting point.

Gallery Wall

More of a patron than a painter? Buy some paintings or prints from an artist you like (ahem!). You could spend all the money you saved on that trip to the Algarve supporting the arts. From local artists to National Galleries, all could use a few of your coins right now. Instagram is a great place to find undiscovered artists, or websites such as Saatchi and Rise Art. If your walls already look like the RA Summer Exhibition, maybe have a rehang. Take all of your pictures down , get them dusted and cleaned up, and then try them out in different positions. Channel your inner curator and maybe hang some unusual or juxtaposing pieces together. This may take all day, but when you’re done you can have a large glass of red and admire your handiwork. Now at least you will have something new to look at while you sit indoors twiddling your thumbs!

Listen to music

Catedral Listening to Bruckner, Dye and acrylic on canvas, 180 x 127 cm

After all that hard work you’ll be in need of some rest, so put on your favourite music and put your feet up. But music can be a great inspiration and motivator too. I often listen to music while I paint, and many of my paintings have been influenced by pieces of music, or composers. Abstract art and classical music, for me are the only two mediums that are able to transport the viewer or listener beyond the concrete world. They say things that cannot be expressed in words, and transport you to another space. You can take a look through the blog category titled Music Box to see some examples of my musical inspired paintings. One of my favourite composers Schubert, inspired me to create a series of illustrated books, based around his three song cycles.

I hope that helps somewhat – or at least kept you entertained for the past 5 minutes! Stay safe and good luck!

Schwanengesang – Swan Song

A new collection of illustrations painted in response to Schubert’s Schwanengesang.

Front cover of the book

Schubert’s final collection of songs is not a continuous narrative, but there is a theme running through the poems and the music, which is of a deep yearning and melancholy. Yet there is a great beauty too, which can be of great comfort.

The poem Pigeon Post by Johann Gabriel Seidl is somewhat pertinent in these times of isolation and separation:

I send it many thousand times

daily away with messages,

past many dear places

until it reaches my sweetheart’s house.

In at the window there it furtively looks,

observes her face and her step,

cheerfully gives my greetings

and brings hers back.

And from Ludwig Rellstab’s Longing in Springtime a reflection of eerie melancholy in the midst of the hope of springtime.

Glancing gold of the sun that greets me,

you bring the bliss of hope.

How your greeting soothes me!

It smiles gently in the deep blue sky,

and fills my eyes with tears – but why?

The paintings have been compiled into a book, along with the poems, translated into English by William Mann, and is available to purchase from my SHOP.

The original paintings, and giclee reproductions are also available, contact me for prices and details.

You can view more of these illustrations, along with a compendium of information about Schwanengesang on this fantastic website: https://schwanengesang.online/

https://schwanengesang.online/art/

Uncertain Times

Firstly I hope all of my followers are safe and well at this difficult time and I wish you all the best.

It is looking likely that my next exhibition, due to hang at the end of May will be postponed. I hope to have more definite information soon, and will keep you updated. In the meantime, here are a few paintings which I hope will be in the exhibition WHEN it happens!

Also I have a new item in my shop – my latest book Swanengesang. More on that later. Please do keep following my blog and instagram, where I shall try to give you beautiful things to look at. Art can be a great comfort and fulfillment for the soul as well as keeping the brain active, so I shall try to do my part the best way I can.

Gethsemane, Dye and acrylic on canvas, 160 x 140 cm
Transfigured Night, Dye and acrylic on canvas, 162 x 140 cm
Refugee, Mixed media on canvas, 100 x 75 cm
Illustration from Winterreise, Mixed media on paper, 36 x 55 cm
Pigeon Post, Illustration from Schwanengesang, Mixed media on paper, 27 x 76 cm
Still Life with Ginger Plant, Mixed media on canvas, 100 x 76 cm
Archipelago, Mixed media on paper, 38 x 28 cm