Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Yes I have updated and redesigned my website - Matelles-Art is no more - it's all about me, me, me. My website now shows my artwork in an easy to follow format (I hope) and links directly with this blog, which effectively works as a page within the blog. I decided to leave the blog on blogger rather than move it within the site, for no particular reason other than I don't think losing the built in google stuff on this blog would be that sensible. But I hope the site is more useful than it was before. No t shirts for sale via the site - not enough sold to make it worthwhile. But every picture is for sale unless I have already sold it (or as in one or two instances, painted over it). Anyway I hope you like it. Tell your friends!

As for painting, it has been so cold in the atelier that I haven't done much. Started a painting which is sitting staring at me as I type -  but more to do on it. In case you are interested this is what it looks like now:
Work in progress...
Another flower painting, so far it's spray paint and ink. I imagine they'll be some other things added shortly. One of the things I intend to put on thew site is a video of me painting. I know someone else did this and I found it fascinating -  I probably won't be that fascinating, but I will learn the art of editing. Another idea is the process of an iPad painting - one of the iPad painting programmes I use allows you to record the process which I think I will be able to upload. Once I've worked that out. Anyway, it's all fun.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

More flowers, more styles

And so it goes on. Two more flower paintings,two more styles. One renoir-ish, one i'm not sure what-ish? Perhaps a touch hockney/pop art-ish but perhaps not. Definitely Ish. AS for the biscuits, they've all gone, and only the flowers remain. I'm sure I could make a country and western song out of that. Such a sad story.
Flowers in gold frame

Stylised flowers

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Different flower styles

Yeah I'm still on my flower kick. I blame the oil paints. And the flowers. It was either flowers or biscuits, and I decided to eat the biscuits and paint the flowers. What can I say?

Anyway two paintings to show off today - the way I am working at the moment is that there are more than one painting going on at the same time - it's these oils see - take so long to dry and it can be really frustrating waiting rather than painting - so 2 or 3 at the same time. As it happens it means that more than one can be finished more or less at the same time. Here are two, very different, flower paintings: One is some pinky/red flowers in a white vase - a bit less overflowing bouquet-wise than some of the previous paintings. The second painting is an imitation fauvist/Matisse effort. Why not? I love fauvism - I love Matisse and Dufy especially. I love the colours, the outlines and the deceptive simplicity of the images. Anyway here are my efforts. You may notice that I've slightly re-designed the blog template allowing me to show bigger versions of pictures - a good thing I think!

Red flowers, white vase

Fauvist flowers

Friday, 9 December 2011

Tulips from Hamsterdam

Tulips from Hamsterdam

I have always liked tulips. They are a nice symbol of spring - along with daffodils as well. Tulips, daffodils, freesias, roses - those are my favourite flowers I think. I quite like lilies too, but not the smell - and spoke people seem to think Lilies=death for reasons that are beyond me - despite thew fact I could probably find out with a quick wikipedia search. Never mind. Anyway, another flower painting, oils and oil sticks, 40x50cm. I also loved "the Wire" obviously, and with serious neck pain I am slightly drugged up...

Thursday, 8 December 2011

So HERE we are! Everyone find it ok?

As warned I changed everything to reflect the move away from "Matelles-Art" towards "David Abse". Yes I am referring to myself in third person. I need to watch that. Meanwhile back in the atelier as usual I am writing this while i am waiting for paint to dry. Am still working on more flower paintings, nothing else seems to work at the moment, and I am getting a strange satisfaction from doing them. The (vaguely) interesting thing is that none of them, have been done from life - I haven't seen a real live bunch of flowers for ages. Flowers are ridiculously expensive here in France. Anyway, it doesn't reality matter: believe it or not none of my abstracts are done from life either. except this one, obviously:

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

More flowers - and blog title website title re-think

I've been doing more flower painting. This time I have developed the picture slightly differently , layering an abstract background with spray paint, oil sticks and acrylics, before creating the flower image with oils/sticks. Also another one more like the others which I can't stick online yet as it's a present for someone, and I can't send it yet because bloody oil takes so long to dry! I don't actually think this photo does this painting any favours - I can't seem to quite reproduce digitally the richness of the colours.

Flowers in tall blue vase

In the meantime I have been rethinking this whole "Matelles-Art" thing. My gallery has gone, and I do very little in the way of giclée printing for others now, so perhaps I should just be "David Abse". A bit radical, I know. I have started the process on the website - if you go to, or you get to the same place - I'm going to redesign the site and remove all matelles-art mentions. Eventually I'll drop the matelles-art name altogether. Mind you I've got a stamp and a banner and a couple of t shirts with it on... so maybe not completely... In the meantime I have no idea how you change the name of a blog like this one hosted by blogger. I don't want to lose the history on here, the traffic is pretty good.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

More iPad paintings

Cat and Mouse

Flowers in Blue Vase

Flowers in Vase


Not getting much right on canvas at the moment - so am now faced with three blank canvases having painted white gesso over recent efforts (bye bye Millau Bridge). In the meantime, here's some more iPad sketches I've been doing.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Millau bridge

Widely regarded as one of the  architectural and engineering masterpieces of the modern age, the Millau bridge is only an hour and a half from where I live. The bridge is part of the A75 motorway - which has to be the most pleasant motorway I have ever driven on, which goes from Beziers in the south to Clermont Ferrands in quite so south. The views all the way along the motorway are stunning - a lot of the journey you are driving on a road over 1000 metres high, with amazing views across the Ardèche and south. At Millau bridge everyone stops and takes photos. Me included.

 Anyway, here's a painting, done from one of my photos, not on site.
Millau Bridge
Oils on canvas, 80x60cm. Not too sure about this style - feels like I'm stepping back a few paces. Going to have to think about this. Not sure how long this painting will last (I've already painted over another one to do it).

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Being able to see: a useful talent for painters and goalkeepers?

How important is eyesight to painting? Seems like kind of a ridiculous question, I agree. But what do  we actually mean by ‘seeing’ when it comes to painting, when it comes to appreciating things visual? When I was young my dad used to say that I would appreciate ‘views’ more when I was older. And by this I guess he meant that I would be less distracted by other things - I wouldn’t be more interested in whatever game I was playing, and would be able to give a ‘view’ the time and appreciation it deserved. 
When I was at art school I remember one or two teachers telling us that we needed to learn how to ‘see’.  What they meant was the ability to visually interpret what is before us - see all colours, shapes, light, shade, perspective, so that we would be able to turn all this into a 2 dimensional image on paper. I think broadly this is true: you can’t draw, you can’t paint, unless you learn how to see, learn how to look at things. Then to make a painting, a satisfying  picture, you have to see a composition. To quote what apparently is a chinese proverb: “First I saw the mountains in the painting, then I saw the painting in the mountains”. And to quote John Ruskin: “You do not see with the lens of the eye ... but you see with the soul of the eye”. So there is more to “seeing” than eyesight.
In fact, what is very interesting is that historically many of the world’s greatest paintings were painted by artists reportedly with faulty eyesight. Included in this list are Degas, Monet, Kandinsky, Rembrandt, El Greco, Goya, Renoir and probably others. Margaret Livingstone, a professor of neurobiology at Harvard, has undertaken a study into the eyesight of artists, and has discovered that established artists are more likely to have astigmatisms than the general population. See for more info. In general she concludes that artists generally have poor depth of vision, which may explain the lack of tennis player painters, whilst simultaneously explaining the multitudinous goalkeeping errors of David James.
Eyesight must somehow influence what artists paint. Degas’ paintings certainly became ‘vaguer’ (and better) as his eyesight faded, and the same could be said about Monet. On the other hand it could have just been that they became better painters the older they got. Who knows what causes a painter to make a great painting. Would Van Gogh have painted as well if he had undertaken psychiatric treatment? Would Monet have been a worse painter if he’d had correctional eye surgery? Incidentally have you noticed that in recent ads for correctional eye surgery the person advertising the surgery doesn’t blink. At all. Weird - clearly he’s an alien.
For me, I know my eyesight has become worse the older I get. I have always been red/green colour blind, and my eyesight has deteriorated in the last ten years or so: I am shortsighted and astigmatic. And I always paint and draw without my glasses on, only putting them on to check how the painting looks at various points. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. Sometimes not. But I know how I see is effected by my eyesight, but my paintings are equally influenced by other physical and non-physical factors.
So to sum up: it is quite clear that there are a great many referees who would make seriously good painters.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Cezanne meets Interflora

That's the title I've decided is appropriate for this picture, another flower painting, making four in this particular series. i don't count the first one as part of the series because it's a bit different - if nothing else, it's a different size. Like the others this is 38x55cm.
Cezanne meets Interflora
That's definitely the last in this particular series because I've run out of canvases and stretchers that size. Not sure what's next. Exciting isn't it? No? Well it is for me!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

More flowers

I 'm not sure if there are any more of these in me. It kind of depends on the weather, which at the moment continues to be lousy. We are promised some sun for tomorrow and I have in turn promised to help my wife build some kind of horse feeder-thing, so won't have any or very much time in the studio. Let's see what happens next week. More flowers? Back to abstracts? Somewhere/thing else entirely? Anyway, these two paintings, the same size as the last flower oil painting - 10P  (That's not the price) - or 55x38cm, also inspired by Dyf - the catalogue is still lying around here. Mind you so is a catalogue of some awful Italian sculptor called Antonio Manca, and for some reason I am not inspired to paint Jesus impaled on a red tree. Weird that.

Autumn bouquet

Flowers in Jug

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Flowers and oils - I'm coming over all traditional - ooh er

So here's my latest painting - which instead of being an expressive acrylic is oils on canvas. And it'\s flowers in a vase again. Autumn flowers this time. There is a very straightforward explanation for this and an influence particularly for this one. I ordered oil sticks from the Society of Amateurs and Assholes months ago, and they finally arrived last week. My membership expired in the meantime and given the amateurish crap service I got from them I don't think I'll bother to renew. Although there might be some financial advantages. I'll have to think about it. Anyway now I've got these oil sticks the opportunity to play with them is irresistible.Meanwhile the weather is unbelievably appalling here in the Languedoc - endless rain, flooding rivers, cold, winds. Bloody awful. Normally I have my studio doors open all year round, but at the moment they are shut, to keep out the wind and the rain, and by doing so I have removed all natural light, and all of this is influencing my painting . Flowers seem to be a reasonable response to crap weather, lousy light etc. But I don't have any flowers or vases in my studio. I do however still have some of the stuff my late aunt left, including an old Marcel Dyf catalogue. I  am not a special fan of his paintings (see more here) they're good, but not really my kind of thing - but he was damn good at painting flowers. And he made a lot of money painting them. Hmmm.

Autumn Flowers

Sunday, 6 November 2011

More flowers

Flowers in vase 2
Today's effort is oil stick on canvas. I'm really enjoying using oil sticks and using my fingers - yes it IS just like nursery school without any health and safety protection. No idea where the flowers come from.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

IPad paintings

When I was in new york earlier this year it was the day before the launch of the iPad 2, so they were selling iPads with 100$ off. I couldn't resist this and bought one. Since then I have used it for various things - playing games, collecting my emails, looking at stuff on the net, typing, and also painting. I have two programmes - Sketchbook pro, which I installed whilst still in New York, and this week, on recommendation of Kevin at L'Herault Art, I installed Brushes - which probably slightly better than Sketchbook in that it feels more natural to use. Don't ask me why, it just does. Anyway, here are some of the results - sorry about the layout - Blogger does some odd things sometimes:



An Old Docror




Flowers 2
Les Matelles

Thursday, 3 November 2011

White Vase

Or something. New painting, mixing media again - oil sticks and acrylic paint. One of the reasons I like oil sticks is the way i can paint with my fingers quite easily with them. But this does cause a problem with the keyboard and the mouse afterwards.
White Vase

Monday, 31 October 2011

New paintings, new styles, new materials - Dead Nightingale Evil Box

As previously recorded I have started using oil sticks more in my work. A whole batch I ordered from the SAA (Society of Art and Artists - or Strictly Amateur Arseholes) about 4 months ago arrived this week and this spurred me on to do this work. Some brighter colours and inspiration from still life. Not sure about titles - have changed them 3 times as I type this. Anyway the first picture is small - about30x20cm, the second picture I think is 80x60cm.
Mal encadré
Impasse des rossignols
Meanwhile I received an email this evening from an art association here in France, inviting me to participate. Attached to the email was a file setting out the rules, terms and conditions etc. This being a long pieve of text I cut and paste the french straight into Google translate. Two things immediately stood out. The addres of the person sending the letter out was "impasse des rossignols" - you should know that an "impasse' is simply a road that leads nowhere - kind of a cul-de-sac(!) - and "rossignols" are nightingales - but Google translated what in english should be I guess "Nightingale Lane" as "Dead Nightingales". Even worse, elsewhere in the document there is a list of stuff that will automatically disqualify work, for example work delivred that isn't the same as on the application form, and, I guess reasonably, work "mal encadré" i.e. "badly framed" - but as Google prefers to translate: "Evil Box". The temptation to submit a painting of dead nightingales in an evil box is almost too much to resist.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Fish Triptych. Four in One. ParallaxAF aftermath.

The Parallax Art Fair turned out to be like nothing I've ever experienced before. A million artists. Ten billion people looking. Each artist with 5 square inches of space. Temperature under thew lights reaching 200ºc. Well if I'm going to exaggerate for effect I may as well go all the way. It wasn't so much the size of the wall space, which was as expected, but the incredibly limited viewing space - you couldn't back further away than 2 metres from a painting without bumping into another painting. That's if you didn't bump into 14 other people at the same time, or pass out under the lights. Interestingly the part I took part in was billed as "abstract" - but at least a quarter of the work being shown was figurative. Of those my favourite was Jonathan Alibone with his pervy ladybird-book-style watercolours - hilarious. Of the abstract artists I loved Marcello Scarselli whose paintings I really loved. I tried to convince his friend there looking after his space to do a swap for one of mine, but it was at this point he lost his ability to speak English. Shame.

So I have taken something else from him instead, as you can see in my latest paintings below:

Four in One

Fish triptych
I have extended my use of layers of colour done in various media - oil, acrylic, spray paint, and extended and clarified use of symbols. And I guess neatened things up a bit. The triptych was done differently to the other two triptychs I have done. In the first I joined the three canvases together after painting thewm. In the second I haven't joined them together at all, because I like them on the wall with a small gap between them. In this one they were joined together part way through the process - actually in a way at the start - because at the point I joined them they were three separate paintings, and I decided to make them just one painting with three canvases joined. Yet the fact of them being three separate canvases changed the way I painted. I liked this, so took the fourth painting I was working on while these were drying, and took the idea further by dividing on a single canvas. By four, as it was the fourth. This kind of makes sense to me anyway!

As for sizes, the triptych is 100x45cm, the 4 in 1 is 35x50cm.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Provence Alps, Saatchi and Parallax Art Fair

Here's the third picture I have done of the Provence Alps. Perversely called Provence Alps 2. The other ones were Provence Alps 3 and 4, and # 1 doesn't exist (because I painted over it).

Anyway I'm quite pleased with this. A lot of work has gone into a small painting that looks like I churned it out in a few minutes.  It is only 22x33cm (L4 for those keeping count). Meanwhile I struggle on with a series of 4 paintings I can't quite get right, as reported in another blog entry using a lot of oil stick.

Provence Alps 2
Secondly the Saatchi drawing competition thing is on line. I have two things to say about this: you get to vote between pictures - they call it a "match-up" - and the whole thing has a "hot or not" feel about it (!) - but actually "hot or not" would be better, because voting between two randomly selected pictures is odd, and will no doubt lead to some perverse results, because there's no "Jesus christ these are both fucking awful" button, or even a "actually I quite like both of these" button, which is a shame. There are some revolting drawing up there too - not just bad (there are plenty of them) but actually really tasteless and revolting, which leads you to vote along the lines of "I'll vote for that one because it is just bad, whereas the other one makes me want to rip my eyes out".  OOps just found the "Skip this" button. I feel a fool.

Enough of that, the key thing is actually to ensure you go on there and vote for my un-revolting picture here:
I need the votes - am currently only in 1075th position out of 2099!!

Finally - if you're in London later this week I hope to see you (as noted previously in this Blog) at the Parallax Art Fair. 

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Gallery gone online...

Today is the last day of the Matelles-Art gallery. Everything comes down tomorrow and a few days later the gallery will be reborn as "Kitty's Tack Shop". A great place for all and sundry to buy horsey type things. That website will be running properly soon, we'll be selling through the shop and in markets and directly at equestrian centres, and those of you in the UK can buy stuff through the Kitty's Tack Shop Ebay Shop.

But as for Matelles-Art, it's all change. The gallery now exists on line here at the main matelles-art website - and in the next few days I'll improve it by giving size and media details and offering the opportunity to buy online - originals and prints. You can already buy t shirts.

My studio will continue, and I can still offer giclée printing at a very reasonable price (!). And every summer I'll turn the tack shop back into a gallery for a month. After all, this summer I've actually sold a few things.  Nearly paid the rent.

So I'll finish this post with some pictures of the gallery on its last day:

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Losing myself in the crowd

A new painting. Continuing along the same lines - but putting more oil stick into the mix. This is smaller, too:  F8 (38x46cm). Another lyric-inspired title. I choose lyrics that link to the painting in my mind, not at random, in case you were wondering. This painting continues my abstract identity/symbolism theme, and I kind of like that the image has a "still life" feel about it. Anyone got the song? Answer below the painting*.

Losing myself in the crowd
*"Shot by both sides" - Magazine.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

He can't remember his own name

Ok, another painting with the title stolen from a song. In case you haven't worked it out: "My name is Michael Caine". It's such a shame he's such a Tory, as I love him as an actor. But there you go. Anyway, the line seemed to suit this painting, which is more abstract symbolism, more thoughts about identity. The other possibility of a title was "What's your name?"  with the obvious answer not being "Virginia Plain".
He can't remember his own name
And a message for Gatsby if he looks at this: I think it looks better with the paint on top!

And finally - here's the tattoo, finally done today:

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Some new paintings

Yes I did say "some". I keep forgetting to have my camera with my at the atelier, so it all happens at once. First are three little ones that I've called Phidelity 1,2, and 3:

Phidelity 1

Phidelity 2

Phidelity 3
The first two are square 30x30cm, the third a mere 24x18cm. I wanted to try producing small abstracts, using the kind oif colours and symbolism I have been using recently. It's quite hard to make small canvases not look overworked.

Not too sure about these - especially no 3. Still thinking about them. They look better on the wall.


I'm more pleased with these two - called "Strand" and "Suspicious", They are slightly larger - 55x33cm and 46x55cm respectively.

Finally a bigger painting that I am definitely happy about. "Blue Velvet" - 81x116cm. For those that are interested in these things that's a 50L on its side. French sizing. I'm finding new things in this painting as i look at it - which i think is a good thing (!)
Blue Velvet
In other news I've sold a big painting today for a decent amount of money. So to celebrate I've booked myself in on Thursday to get the tattoo done: